Chelsea will be without striker Armando Broja for its Premier League home game with Arsenal this weekend after the Albanian picked up an injury on international duty, manager Mauricio Pochettino said on Friday.
Chelsea has suffered a string of injuries this season, and Broja returned to Stamford Bridge before his country’s win over Bulgaria in a friendly in Tirana on Tuesday.
“Broja is out, he has a bit of irritation on the knee but it’s the other knee, not the one that was a problem in the past,” Pochettino told reporters.
“We have a few players we have to assess to see if they will be available or not tomorrow. (Defender) Benoit Badiashile could be available also on the bench.”
Fullback Reece James has been out since picking up a hamstring injury on the opening day of the season and the coach is not ruling out a return for Saturday’s game with Arsenal.
“Reece was training good the last few days, now we need to have a talk with the medical staff and decide if he can be part of the squad tomorrow.”
Midfielders Enzo Fernandez and Moises Caicedo only returned to the club on Thursday after international duty, but Pochettino said they have trained and are ready for action.
For Chelsea, the international break came at just the wrong time, having won their two league games before the break, along with a win in the League Cup.
“It was a shame because we wanted to keep the momentum and now it’s about building another momentum,” added Pochettino.
“But I think we are confident, the team is confident, the players have a different mood than one month ago.”
The Argentine will now come up against Mikel Arteta for the first time as manager. The two played together at Paris Saint-Germain back in 2001 and have remained friends ever since.
“It’s going to be really nice, my love for him is there, it’s a family, it’s more than friends, it’s going to be strange,” said Pochettino.
“All coaches are competitive, we want to win and to destroy the opponent. I want to feel proud to see him.”
Chelsea, in 11th place on 11 points, hosts an unbeaten Arsenal side who are second in the table with 20 points.