What Ben Chilwell and Edouard Mendy were spotted doing ahead of Everton vs Chelsea


Chelsea's season has been hit by injury and Covid woes and Thomas Tuchel hasn't been shy in saying just that as an explanation to why his side has fallen foul of not making it a three-horse title race in the Premier League.

"Today other key players are missing in Mateo Kovacic, who was so decisive at the beginning of the season, same with N'Golo Kante, same with Ben Chilwell. This was the story of the season.

 The big difference is Man City and Liverpool, and in these moments, a full squad available and we struggled with Covid periods and long-term injuries. This is more decisive than the other thing. We had weeks where we were composed and strong and efficient in front of goal," Tuchel reflected after the 1-1 draw against Man United.

And he's right. Throughout the season, key stars in the defence, midfield and attack have all been sidelined with different issues that haven't really cropped up at Liverpool and Man City, Most recently, losing arguably the best player of the season Mateo Kovacic to an ankle injury has had a big effect on midfield dynamism in the last few games.

The biggest loss this season however came when both Reece James and Chilwell were missing with various injury concerns, the latter suffering more detrimental damage with his ACL injury picked up in the rampant Champions League home win against Juventus all the way back in December,

Now, the likes of Marcos Alonso, Ruben Loftus- Cheek, Malang Sarr and Cesar Azpilicueta have filled in well when called upon by Tuchel, but the second string nature of their status has meant that the Blues have been playing out 2021/22 with various weaknesses in comparison to the current top two.

Thankfully, with only a little chunk remaining of a campaign that has seen the Blues scoop up the Club World Cup and Super Cup, whatever happens now with the FA Cup final in mind will be seen as a bonus for a team that has been transitioning on and off the pitch.

The takeover noise has obviously acted as a strong distraction to the shortcomings seen in the Premier League this term, but with a second full pre-season under his belt coupled with having a full squad that could be strengthened by whomever the new owners are to be in the summer, this all means there is an exciting 2022/23 campaign just around the corner as the mission to bridge the gap to City and Liverpool resumes.

Two players that will be ever-present key figures in pre-season that Tuchel will have good knowledge of are Chilwell and Mendy who may be provided extra competition in the summer if the new ownership structure were to sign a new backup left-back and a Kepa Arrziabalaga replacement - if the £70million man was to depart for more regular first-team football next term.

Therefore, the aforementioned due need to remain consistent with their performances on and off the pitch and that's exactly what they have been spotted doing ahead of the Everton trip this weekend.

 This is because both were captured working hard in the gym on Friday with recovery from the United game on the agenda and despite the former Leicester man still nowhere near a return, it's promising that his rehab from injury is seemingly going better than expected.

"For sure, Ben Chilwell, no, and for Kova (Mateo Kovacic), it is too early – he has not had a minute in team training so far. he will not come back. Callum Hudson-Odoi as well. Maybe Andreas Christensen, but let's see after he was ill. And the same for Ross Barkley. "Let's wait until the day after tomorrow (Saturday) to see how they feel," Tuchel said on the injury news ahead of Everton.

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