The two Chelsea players that will benefit from Chilwell's injury

Cameron Smith
Cameron Smith
  • 3 Oct 2023 16:42 BST
  • 5 min read
Ben Chilwell, Chelsea
© ProShots

Ben Chilwell’s injury woes at Chelsea have continued with news that he is expected to miss the next two months of action through a hamstring problem.

The England international, who was named Chelsea vice-captain this summer, could return in December, according to reports, but that is not yet guaranteed.

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It is the third successive season in which Chilwell has suffered a major injury at Stamford Bridge - this is becoming a major problem for the Blues.

READ MORE: Pochettino sends audacious 'matter of time' message to Chelsea's rivals

Furthermore, his past three injuries have all been hamstring problems and have all happened since November 2022.

The ACL injury that ruled him out for 45 games during the 2021-22 campaign has not repeated itself and was a freak one-time thing, but Chilwell’s repeated hamstring injuries are a concern.

He’s not the only Blues star with injury problems either though; in fact it’s been a major issue at Stamford Bridge for some time.

READ MORE: Four Chelsea players told they are ‘not good enough’

Mauricio Pochettino has been without a major bulk of his first-team squad this season and that has no doubt played a role in why Chelsea are currently in the bottom half of the Premier League table.

In fact, Reece James, Malo Gusto, Nicolas Jackson, Armando Broja, Trevoh Chalobah, Benoit Badiashile, Wesley Fofana, Mykhailo Mudryk, Moises Caicedo, Romeo Lavia, Christopher Nkunku, Noni Madueke, Carney Chukwuemeka and Chilwell have all missed games through either injury or suspension so far this campaign.

Chilwell’s repeated injuries are a huge concern, especially given he is vice-captain and fellow injury prone star James is club captain, but his latest set-back will provide opportunities for other members of Chelsea’s squad.

Mykhailo Mudryk

Mykhailo Mudryk has scored a goal for Chelsea. After 23 games without netting for his new club, the Ukraine international finally opened his account for the Blues during their 2-0 win over Fulham on Monday.

He brought down a delicate Levi Colwill cross with his chest, before sliding a left-footed finish underneath Bernd Leno to open the scoring.

Mudryk’s inclusion in the starting XI at Craven Cottage marked the first time in his Chelsea career that he had started four consecutive matches in all competitions. It’s therefore perhaps unsurprisingly that this recent show of faith from Pochettino has resulted in Mudryk’s best form in a Blues shirt.

Mykhailo Mudryk scored his first Chelsea goal against Fulham
© ProShots - Mykhailo Mudryk scored his first Chelsea goal against Fulham

The goal against Fulham followed impressive displays against Bournemouth, Aston Villa and Brighton, in which Mudryk could’ve bagged at least a couple of assists if the finishing touch was applied by others.

Pochettino started the season with Chilwell as his preferred left-winger, rather than Mudryk, which was not a decision that resonated well amongst the Chelsea faithful.

However, with Chilwell now sidelined for a significant period of time, Mudryk looks set to be given the chance to nail down that left-wing berth and finally build on the talent that he undoubtedly possesses.

Marc Cucurella

Marc Cucurella has not enjoyed a particular fruitful time at Chelsea since he arrived from Brighton & Hove Albion for €65.3 million last year.

Marc Cucurella, Chelsea
© ProShots - Marc Cucurella, Chelsea

The Spaniard has been an unreliable presence in the backline, with his aggression and poor decision-making leading to several key errors.

For example, his decision to follow Rodrygo into midfield in the first-leg of Chelsea’s Champions League loss to Real Madrid was what led to Ben Chilwell’s red card.

With Cucurella abandoning the defensive line, there was a huge gap in behind, which Rodrygo exploited, bypassing the Spaniard with ease before he was taken out by a covering Chilwell.

In the second-leg of that tie, Cucurella also made a key mistake as he left his position to attempt to press the Real Madrid backline.

When the ball was then instead playing over Cucurella’s head, Chelsea were exposed and Los Blancos clinically punished the English side.

This desire to win the ball is a trait that can be harnessed well, however. Its positive side was seen in the win over Borussia Dortmund at Stamford Bridge last year and in an unfamiliar right-back position in the past two games.

Cucurella was poor in the first-half against Brighton last week, but he was excellent in the second 45 minutes, with Kaoru Mitoma limited to very little against his former team-mate. Against Fulham, Cucurella was impressive again.

Marc Cucurella has started Chelsea's past two games at right-back
© ProShots - Marc Cucurella has started Chelsea's past two games at right-back

Chilwell’s injury may not directly lead to more regular first-team opportunities for Cucurella, as Pochettino has mostly used Levi Colwill at left-back, but it certainly enhances the likelihood of his Chelsea career being extended.

Of course, he was close to joining Manchester United on loan this summer, but this latest development regarding Chilwell could see Cucurella become a fixture at Chelsea if he’s able to continue his recent form.

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