Chelsea hope Romelu Lukaku and Callum Hudson-Odoi fit to face Aston Villa

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel expects Romelu Lukaku and Callum Hudson-Odoi to be available for their Boxing Day clash with Aston Villa.

That attacking pair are among eight players who were sidelined after testing positive during the COVID-19 outbreak at Stamford Bridge.

Striker Lukaku and winger Hudson-Odoi are at a level where they can return to training if they can provide a negative test – as is full-back Ben Chilwell, although he is still injured.


Thomas Tuchel has cautiously welcomed the return of Chelsea’s Covid victims (Nick Potts/PA)

“If I understood it correctly, we need a negative test and we have negative tests for Romelu, Callum and Ben Chilwell,” Tuchel said. “However Ben Chilwell will not be involved against Aston Villa.

“The other two (training) will be on the pitch if they are negative again. Again, we need to see if they are sick and have symptoms, but we will see.

“It’s one of the toughest places you can play a Premier League game at Aston Villa.

“That’s good news, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not overjoyed now because I know I’ll have to check how they are.”

Chelsea were upset that their match at Wolves last weekend, which they drew 0-0, was not postponed like six other Premier League matches.

But they returned to winning ways after beating Brentford 2-0 on Wednesday night and reaching the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup.

Tuchel was forced to debut for teenage academy prospects Harvey Vale, Jude Soonsup-Bell and Xavier Simmons, and all acquitted themselves well.

But eventually the introduction of substitutes for N’Golo Kante, Jorginho, Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic and Reece James proved decisive.

Kante and James combined to set up their own goal of Pontus Johnson in 10 minutes from time and Pulisic won the penalty which Jorginho converted to wrap up the tie and secure a last-four meeting with Tottenham.

All five should return to the starting line-up at Villa Park.

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