Mauricio Pochettino says Reece James could participate in Chelsea clash against Arsenal
Mauricio Pochettino has confirmed Reece James has a high chance of playing against Chelsea’s London rivals Arsenal on Saturday evening, but the Blues boss will be cautious with his injury as he just returned and recovered.
James has not featured in Chelsea’s games since their opening Premier League game 1-1 draw with Liverpool after picking up a hamstring injury. Things got worse for James, who was handed a one-match suspension after the right-back seethed from the bench at officials when Malo Gusto was controversially sent off.
His return will be a great boost for the Blues, and he could probably come in as a substitute against Arsenal, while Malo Gusto will also be in the lineup after completing his suspension.
The 51-year-old will take precautions with James and won’t rush him into action. Speaking at the press conference, the Argentine manager asked whether he would play James or not, (h/t Guardian) he said:
“We also have a very good strategy to put him at his best and keep him fit. It is impossible forever [to never be injured again]. He is much, much better; he is progressing well but still not at his best 100 percent. I think maybe he can help the team at some point; he is close to being there.”
We are facing Arsenal so starting James will be beneficial as he adds a lot of quality to the team but at the same time he recently recovered and we have to be cautious with his injury throwing him into the starting lineup could backfire. However, it’s a big game, so there might be good chances of an England international starting this game. Even if he starts, it’s unlikely he will play the full 90 minutes because he will burn out and need a few games to build his fitness.
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Gusto or Marc Cucurella are two options for Pochettino to use at right-back. Both players have proven themselves trustworthy, and ideally, they’ll be motivated to play their absolute best against Arsenal, a top team.