The inaugural Premier League winter break has come at a great time for Chelsea and Frank Lampard.
Though the Blues are still in the driving seat in the race to secure fourth place and thus Champions League football this season, results will need to improve for them to stay there.
Last weekend’s 2-2 draw against third-place Leicester City made it three league games without a win and also allowed Tottenham Hotspur – who beat Manchester City at home – to cut the gap down to just four points.
Meanwhile, Sheffield United are a point further behind and Manchester United remain withing touching distance despite a lack of form similar to the Blues’.
Frank Lampard now has just over a week to form plans for consecutive matches against United and Spurs that could prove decisive in the race for Champions League football next season – and he will be hoping to have a couple of key players back.
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So here’s the latest Chelsea injury news and expected return dates.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek is close to making his return to action.
Images emerged of the midfielder taking part in training with the first-team squad ahead of the FA Cup fourth round tie against Hull.
Posting on their Twitter account, the Blues shared a picture of the England international taking part in the session.
While Chelsea are unlikely to rush the player back after so long on the sidelines, he has taken part in his first match – a behind-closed-doors friendly for the Chelsea Under-23s against Brentford B.
A return straight after the winter break is unlikely, but his comeback will be welcomed with games starting to come thick and fast.
Christian Pulisic missed Chelsea’s routine 2-0 win against Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup third round because of an unspecified injury sustained in training, and has since…