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New ‘player’, triple injury boost, no James – 4 things spotted in Chelsea training for Arsenal

Mauricio Pochettino and Mikel Arteta are set to meet as managers for the first time on Saturday. Four years ago when the current Chelsea head coach last took on Arsenal he was unbeaten in three games against the Gunners, only losing one of his last three fixtures with them.

Overall he has a relatively strong record, only losing three of 13 games as Spurs manager against the north London rivals. He comes into this clash on the back foot, something unimaginable to most when he was sacked in 2019.

Since that moment, completely unrelated of course, Chelsea have won just two games against Arsenal (since Poch was sacked by Spurs). Their recent record of six losses in seven games and no home win over the Gunners since 2018 has seen it become one of the most one-sided fixtures, especially towards the top of the table.

Pochettino will be keen to land the first punch in this new rivalry though, one that feels steeped in contentious moments despite never crossing paths. Here they are and it will be an acid test of just how far the two sides have moved on, largely in opposite directions.

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The preparation has been far from ideal too. “To improve players, try to recover players from injury in two weeks, we’re going to spend working in the training ground,” the Blues boss said when asked what his plans were for the most recent international break.

“Of course different mood from the last time, last month. With a victory, it is much better. I think pushing, keep pushing and working hard to try and be better.” In reality there have been returning players, injury worries and something that from the outside looks extremely unsettled ahead of such a big game.

However, the view from Cobham seems to be different. Images from the training ground are full of smiles, familiar faces and good vibes even if the squad is still losing a player a day to fitness issues. Here, football.london takes you through the latest batch of pictures released.
‘Ello Enzo

Having come back from the last set of internationals completely undercooked, sweating profusely after 60 minutes away to Bournemouth and being given the run around by Lewis Cook, seeing Enzo Fernandez back ahead of Arsenal was a blessing and a curse.

The Argentine is sure to start at Stamford Bridge on Saturday and the biggest boost for Chelsea is that they at least don’t have any more travelling to do after Fernandez came back from South America this week. He was seen in images on Thursday having only played for his country on Wednesday morning.

He’s here seen chatting with Thiago Silva, who was once more spared the international trip with Brazil, and Pochettino. He’ll be up against Declan Rice on Saturday, someone who has had only the journey from London to Burton and back again to deal with in the build-up.
Injury boosts

Although they have been training with the squad, a much larger group remaining at Cobham than is usual for Chelsea, the sight of Axel Disasi, Mykhailo Mudyrk, Cole Palmer, Armando Broja and Nicolas Jackson is a welcome one.

The Blues have seen each of them either return back from their international camps early with injury worries or niggles, struggle whilst away or withdraw from the squad entirely. Whilst on one hand it has meant a more low-key fortnight and a time to bond and gel some more on the training field, it doesn’t do much for the heart rate of fans that have come to expect near-daily setbacks.

Now with the group all back and doing work on the ball the eyes can come out from behind the hands already hiding behind the sofa just in case. It all looks okay.
Pochettino playing

The international break started with Pochettino getting involved in some shooting practice with Rob Sanchez. On a wet day at Cobham the boss was seen joining in with drills alongside his long-time partner and goalkeeping coach, Toni Jimenez, firing balls at the Spanish shot-stopper.

The first curled effort was well saved, the second was parried away before Pochettino, unleashing some of his playing days anger, let out a ripping shot from the edge of the box and into the goal. As a former defender he celebrated like someone not used to piling them in.

Now he has been seen once again getting stuck in. As he jockeys Jackson with several bemused onlookers – most namely Deivid Washington – Pochettino is back in a more natural environment.
No James

No need to worry, not just yet. It was reported yesterday by football.london that James had returned to training after images of him were posted online, that followed other claims that the 23-year-old had suffered a setback with his injury recovery and was once more a doubt.

There is no telling whether James was involved on Thursday, just because he isn’t in pictures doesn’t mean he wasn’t there and even if he wasn’t on the grass it isn’t necessarily a massive blow. James himself took to Instagram on Wednesday to write “against all odds’ alongside the snaps of him smiling at Cobham..….CONTINUE.FULL.READING>>>

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Bunady

JOLOWO BUNALAYEFA PIUS is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for BUNADY NEWSLITE GLOBAL ENTERPRISE (Bunady.com). He started his Blogging/Journalism career at God's Own Wireless Company 2012. He's a graduate of Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba Akoko Ondo State, with a major in History And International Studies. You can contact him for press events, advertisement promotions on Email: contact.bunady@gmail.com

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