Chelsea were hit by early injuries to Raheem Sterling and Christian Pulisic in their Premier League clash with Manchester City at Stamford Bridge.
Sterling came on as a substitute in Chelsea’s EFL Cup meeting with City earlier in the season but the 28-year-old was named in Graham Potter’s starting XI against his former side on Thursday.
The England international appeared to be starting in a central role behind Kai Havertz, with Mason Mount out of action due to an injury sustained in training on Wednesday.
Yet Sterling went down inside the opening three minutes, seemingly after tweaking his hamstring during a challenge with John Stones.
The injury woes for Potter were compounded 16 minutes later, with Pulisic picking up an issue after a decisive tackle from Stones to deny his charge into the box, with Carney Chukwuemeka his replacement.
Chelsea’s cause has not been helped by injuries this term, with Reece James, Ben Chilwell and N’Golo Kante having been long-term absentees prior to the World Cup. Indeed, James suffered an injury on his return to action last week and has been ruled out for around a month.
The losses of Mount, Pulisic and Sterling could potentially further damage Chelsea’s hopes of pushing for a top-four finish, and perhaps indicate they might push harder to sign Benfica’s Enzo Fernandez, who starred at the World Cup for Argentina.
— Ferdinand A Baah