Chelsea star replace injured Recce James in today's game

 Chelsea will turn to youth again after losing captain Reece James for more than three months.

Malo Gusto, who earlier this season said his battle with James for a starting place was "war", gets a call-up, having returned to training this week after a knee injury.

James's latest injury is a hammer blow to Mauricio Pochettino ahead of Sheffield United's visit to Stamford Bridge. A series of scans and specialist visits have informed Chelsea the highest-paid defender in the club's history needs time to overcome his recurring hamstring issues.

The 24-year-old has hurt his hamstrings seven times in three years, and muscle issues have fed into other problems, including the knee ligament damage that kept him out of last year's World Cup.

Reece James


Chelsea also lost Marc Cucurella and Robert Sanchez to injury during the 2-0 defeat by Everton last weekend.

Pochettino described the first four months of the season as a "reality check" and said he would ask the owners to sign more players, hinting his £1billion squad is not good enough.

Cole Palmer has been the one signing to perform consistently, but Nicolas Jackson and Mykhailo Mudryk again proved wasteful at Everton. The midfield duo of Enzo Fernandez and Moises Caicedo — signed for more than £100million each — were outbattled and the centre-back partnership of Axel Disasi and Benoit Badiashile looked shaky. Cucurella struggled out of position as cover for James before he went off injured.

Right-footed Gusto's return straight away offers better balance. The 20-year-old £26.3million signing from Lyon had two assists on his first start, against Luton in August, but was sent off against Aston Villa and switched off to allow Leandro Trossard to score in his last start against Arsenal.

He is an excellent one-versus-one defender but lacks impact in the final third, having never scored and amassed just eight assists in 72 senior matches. A favourable run begins with bottom-of-the-table Sheffield United before matches against Wolves, Crystal Palace and Luton follow.

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