Gallery: Take a look at who trained ahead of Newcastle

Frank Lampard has counted his players back through the training ground doors largely unscathed following the international period, though the boss did admit in Thursday’s pre-match press conference that he would likely be without Thiago Silva, Christian Pulisic and Kai Havertz for the trip to St James’ Park.

In better news, Ben Chilwell has shaken off any discomfort following the back injury he picked up on England duty at the weekend and should be in contention to start against Newcastle United.


Lampard on taking stock, his strong belief in the young players and an open Premier League campaign

Lampard’s Chelsea remains a young team, learning and improving all the time. Only Aston Villa and West Brom have an average age younger than the Blues this term, while our haul of 1,791 minutes to players aged 21 or under is more than any other club in the league.

Despite the outside perception that additional recruitment this summer would squeeze the opportunities for the homegrown players who burst onto the scene so spectacularly in Lampard’s first season in charge at Stamford Bridge, the boss never doubted their resilience and ability to adapt.

‘I read some articles and heard some people saying “that’ll be the end of it and you won’t see these young boys again” but I always had a strong belief that the young players who have come through the Academy would compete again this year,’ he stated.

‘Look at the performances of Tammy Abraham, Reece James and Mason Mount. Fikayo Tomori is staying patient at the minute, Billy Gilmour is back fit – I have absolutely no problem in throwing these young boys in.


Lampard: Protect the players, rethink the schedule

Lampard believes changes can be made to help the players and protect the Premier League brand, including losing the early kick-off on a Saturday following the international break. He has also called once again for the rule permitting five substitutes per game to be reintroduced.

‘The broadcasters have never had as many slots or games as they have now,’ he continued. ‘With that 12.30pm slot on a Saturday, you have to ask how much does it need to be there? If you’re looking over the course of a season at four or five international breaks, can we not change the time? 

‘With the amount of things we’ve changed due to Covid-19, Project Restart and now this season because of the incredible times, we have to continue looking for the best way to change it and it’s not a difficult conversation to have. The answer is to stop talking and act upon it.

‘It’s absolutely not the optimum way to prepare for a game in the Premier League, which is an incredible brand around the world. It’s very difficult for us to prepare for this game anywhere near our best. I want us to play to our best but these are very difficult circumstances.’


Lampard provides update on early team news; three doubtful for Newcastle trip

Lampard expanded on Pulisic’s condition…

‘We’re still searching. He’s had a problematic injury and he had a history before coming to us of some muscular injuries. Everything about how he prepares is perfect so we need to find the right balance between playing, resting and maintenance during the week to get the best out of him. He’s a young player still, it’s not abnormal and we will find a solution.’

The boss was impressed with Mount’s performances for England despite the midfielder’s heavy workload…

‘I’m impressed with his development and I think it shows how much Gareth [Southgate] and Steve [Holland] rely on him and trust in him. I have done throughout my time in management so it’s nice to see a lot of positivity around Mason because it’s well-deserved. 

‘He was the only player in the England squad of all the players that are involved in Europe that played all three games but I understand Gareth’s position. The good thing about Mason is he has a great attitude, he’s a fit young man and I hope he comes through fresh because at the minute he’s in great form.’

Lampard reiterated his belief that the five subs rule should return in the Premier League…

‘I think it’s something we have to address again with all clubs. I know we had a vote earlier in the season but nothing has changed in terms of our professional environment since we had five subs after the restart. In fact, some things have tightened up and the schedule has become even more hectic but we’ve gone back to three subs.

‘The reason maybe managers are not making those three subs so much in games, if people want to argue that, is because if you have 10 players who you’re fearful of tiredness in the latter stages of games, to make that third sub in the 70th minute is a danger zone that you might have an injury after that. My main concern is player welfare, particularly for those playing in Europe. It’s every three or four days week after week after week.’

Following suggestions fans could return to grounds before Christmas, the boss was hopeful…

‘I am optimistic. It has to be safe first and foremost but when you see other areas of life where we are having gatherings that are controlled in safe environments then we have to look at football and try to get it back as quickly as we can.’


Watch the Chelsea development squad live on the app this weekend

Andy Myers’s men returned to Cobham from the international period this week and got straight back into preparations for a week of development squad football, taking on Bristol Rovers in the EFL Trophy on Wednesday evening. Highlights from that game can be viewed below.

Our youngsters will be aiming to get back to winning ways after a tough PL2 double-header on Merseyside. Defeat against Liverpool at the end of October was followed by a frustrating loss against Everton last time out when a second-half double condemned the young Blues to their third defeat of the season.


Internationals: Mount scores, important win for Jorginho and Emerson, Thiago Silva captains Brazil to victory

Thiago Silva wore the captain’s armband for Brazil as he resumed his old partnership at centre-back with former Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Marquinhos, this time at international level.

It was a good night all round for Thiago Silva and the Selecao, as they continued their 100 per cent record in the South American section of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup, leaving them two points clear of Argentina in top spot in the table.

There was a clean sheet for the defender, too, as Brazil won 2-0 against Uruguay, who were reduced to 10 men by a red card for Edinson Cavani after the damage was already done. So accomplished was the performance of Thiago Silva and his fellow defenders that Uruguay failed to register a single shot on target during the match, although they did have a late consolation goal ruled out for offside.


EFL Trophy report: Bristol Rovers 4 Chelsea 3

Fortunate but deserved third

Chelsea had turned the game on its head and the hosts looked unable to deal with our rapid offensive threat. Lawrence continued to enjoy space on the left and this time cut on to his favoured right foot to take aim at goal. His shot looked to be on target but a deflection off Anjorin’s back sent the ball into the back of the net, Van Stappershoef stood no chance and Anjorin was unaware of his contribution until his team-mates crowded him in celebration, we were level again at 3-3.

All to play for in the final quarter

With the score level as we entered the dying moments it was still all to play for and both teams had their goalkeepers to thank for producing wonder-saves which kept the tie alive. The first was from the Bristol Rovers keeper who denied Lewis an evening’s brace after the midfielder skilfully worked his way into the box and took aim.

The second was from Ziger who reacted quickly to get a strong hand to Nicholson’s drive after he beat the offside trap and advanced on goal with only our stopper to beat.

It was end-to-end but Chelsea looked to be edging closer to taking the lead for the first time on the night. Newly-introduced Bate tired his luck from distance after shrugging off two defenders, his whipped effort clipped the inside of the post and agonisingly rolled away from danger. At this point penalties looked likely but for a late blow to sink our men to defeat.

Our second-half efforts deserved more, but a devastating last-minute winner came for Bristol Rovers through Josh Hare who headed home from close range. That goal sealed the three points which propelled them into a qualification position and eliminated Chelsea from the competition.

What’s next?

Myers’ men are next in action on Sunday afternoon when they face Manchester City in Premier League 2 action. You can watch every kick live and for free on the 5th Stand app or on this website.

Chelsea (4-2-3-1) Karlo Ziger, Tino Livramento, Dynel Simeu (c), Levi Colwill, Henry Lawrence; Billy Gilmour (Lewis Bate 60), Danny Drinkwater; Myles Peart-Harris, Tino Anjorin, Marcel Lewis; Charlie Brown (George Nunn ht)
Unused subs Lucas Bergstrom, Pierre Ekwah-Elimby, Thierno Ballo, Dion Rankine, Bryan Fiabema
Scorer Anjorin 11, 68; Lewis 63

Bristol Rovers Jordi Van Stappershoef, Josh Grant, Max Ehmer, Ed Upson, Brandon Hanlan, Sam Nicholson, Alfie Kilgour, James Daly (Zain Westbrooke ht), David Tutonda (Luke Leahy 62), Josh Hare, Cian Harries
Unused subs Liam Armstrong, Ben Liddle, Cam Hargreaves, Zain Walker, Josh Barrett
Booked Kilgour 61; Grant 88
Scorer Hanlan 10; Nicholson 15; Westbrooke 58


Chelsea Women’s match against London City Lionesses is postponed

Our Continental Tyres League Cup fixture against London City Lionesses has been postponed. This follows two first-team players and one member of staff at London City Lionesses testing positive for COVID-19.

As a result, Dartford FC’s stadium is now unable to facilitate the game, meaning London City Lionesses are unfortunately not in a position to fulfil the fixture.

Further details regarding this fixture will follow in due course.


Internationals: Giroud and Kovacic hit braces, Ziyech and Hudson-Odoi also on target

Earlier in the day, in African Cup of Nations qualifying, Hakim Ziyech continued his fine form with another goal as Morocco defeated Central African Republic 2-0 in Cameroon. The Wizard opened the scoring, before Sevilla’s Youssef En-Nesyri added the second in added time to all but secure their place at the 33rd AFCON.

Baba Rahman was also in AFCON qualifying action, but his Ghana side were defeated 1-0 away to Sudan meaning they still have work to do to ensure qualification.

On Monday night Matt Miazga, who is currently on loan in Belgium at Anderlecht, played 80 minutes for the United States in a big friendly victory over Panama in a game held in Austria.

A young American side ran out 6-2 winners despite going behind to an early goal. Christian Pulisic was named in the USA squad and originally joined up with the camp ahead of their earlier friendly against Wales, but returned to Cobham to continue his recovery from a hamstring problem.


Youngster combines defending with diploma after completing course in financial trading

It is not just on the field that young players in the Academy are encouraged to thrive, but in every aspect of life, including their academic studies. While juggling development as young professionals with post-16 qualifications can be challenging, every effort is made to support dual aspirations with the aim of broadening horizons and maintaining interests away from football.

Development squad defender Jack Wakely is one such youngster who has continued his studies long after the required exams have been taken. When his work at Cobham is finished and he heads home after lunch and swaps trading tackles with trading stocks as part of his Level 5 Advanced Diploma in Financial Trading. Earlier this month, the 20-year-old received confirmation that he had achieved the higher education qualification.

‘I really enjoyed it and I’m now speaking about what I can do next,’ he told the official Chelsea website. ‘I’m not sure if I will be able to on top of all my football so maybe it would be best when my career is finished but I’m open to finding out if there is anything I can do while I’m still playing.

‘There are specific things I like to trade like indices and currencies but I’m not so confident with bonds. I enjoyed the technical analysis a lot, especially when we were down in London and we could hear the financial news coming in – having to react quickly and put trades on was a part I really enjoyed.’