Reece James returns to Chelsea line-up with Graham Potter turning to Conor Gallagher as Blues prepare for Bournemouth clash without SEVEN key players

    Chelsea are expected to welcome Reece James back to the starting XI for their upcoming clash against Bournemouth.

    The 23-year-old right-back has been out since early October after suffering a knee injury against AC Milan at the San Siro.

    James is expected to be involved in Chelsea’s clash with Bournemouth next week

    Getty

    James is expected to be involved in Chelsea’s clash with Bournemouth next week

    His knock saw him miss out on selection for the World Cup, but the England man is back in full training and is ready for selection.

    Commenting on the defender in his pre-match press conference, boss Graham Potter said: “Reece is back in, he’s been training with us. He completed 65 minutes in the week.”

    But while fans will be rejoicing the ex-Wigan loanee is available, Chelsea will be without a number of key players when they host the Cherries on December 27.

    Wesley Fofana picked up a fresh injury in the recent behind-closed-doors friendly with Brentford, though he will only be sidelined for around two weeks.

    Meanwhile Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ben Chilwell are out due to injury along with N’Golo Kante, with striker Armando Broja out for the season.

    And the Blues cannot count on Mateo Kovacic and Hakim Ziyech, with the pair yet to link up with the squad as a result of their involvement in the latter stages of the World Cup.

    Potter will be without a number of players when they welcome the Cherries to Stamford Bridge

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    Potter will be without a number of players when they welcome the Cherries to Stamford Bridge

    Here talkSPORT takes a look at how Chelsea may line-up when they welcome Bournemouth to Stamford Bridge.

    Having ousted Edouard Mendy between the sticks, Kepa Arrizabalaga should start in goal.

    Potter could opt to name a back-five – consisting of centre-backs Thiago Silva, Kalidou Koulibaly and Trevoh Chalobah.

    James would then slot in at right wing-back, with Marc Cucurella to be deployed on the opposite side.

    This is how Chelsea could line-up against Bournemouth on December 27

    This is how Chelsea could line-up against Bournemouth on December 27

    Moving onto midfield, Jorginho will surely start in the middle of the pitch, though there are questions marks as to who could partner him.

    With Denis Zakaria still yet to make his Premier League debut since joining on loan from Juventus, it appears he will once again be overlooked by Potter.

    This could see Conor Gallagher partner Jorginho with Kovacic and Kante unavailable.

    Mason Mount could find himself on the bench as he nurses a slight calf strain.

    His English compatriot Raheem Sterling may get the nod over him, with Kai Havertz also featuring in an advanced role.

    And with Broja undergoing knee surgery, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is Chelsea’s only recognised striker.

    The ex-Arsenal skipper has struggled since returning to England after his short spell at Barcelona.

    He has scored just once in the top-flight for the Blues, and is without a goal since his league debut against Crystal Palace on October 1.

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