James returns but Chelsea play in a temporary squad without seven key players

Chelsea are expected to welcome Reece James back into the starting line-up for their next clash against Bournemouth.

The 23-year-old right-back has been out since early October after suffering a knee injury against AC Milan at the San Siro.

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James is expected to participate in Chelsea’s match with Bournemouth next week

His strike saw him miss out on World Cup selection, but the England man is back in full training and ready for selection.

Commenting on the defender in his pre-match press conference, coach Graham Potter said: “Rice is back, he’s been training with us. Complete 65 minutes a week.”

But while fans will rejoice at the availability of the former Wigan loanee, Chelsea will be without a number of key players when they host the Cherries on December 27.

Wesley Fofana picked up a new injury in his latest behind-closed-doors friendly with Brentford, although he will be out for around two weeks.

Meanwhile, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ben Chilwell are out through injury along with N’Golo Kante, with striker Armando Bruja missing the season.

And the Blues cannot count on Mateo Kovacic and Hakim Ziyech, as the duo has not yet joined the team as a result of their participation in the final stages of the World Cup.

Potter will be without a squad when they welcome the Cherries to Stamford Bridge

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Potter will be without a squad when they welcome the Cherries to Stamford Bridge


Here talkSPORT takes a look at how Chelsea will form when they welcome Bournemouth to Stamford Bridge.

After Edouard Mendy is sent off between the sticks, Kepa Arrizabalaga must start in goal.

Potter could choose to name five in defence – consisting of centre-backs Thiago Silva, Kalidou Koulibaly and Treveaux Chalobas.

Then James would come in at right wing-back, with Mark Cucurella deployed at the other side.

This is how Chelsea could line up against Bournemouth on December 27

This is how Chelsea could line up against Bournemouth on December 27

Moving into midfield, Jorginho will certainly start in the middle of the field, although there are question marks over who he could partner with.

With Denis Zakaria still making his first Premier League appearance since joining on loan from Juventus, it looks like Potter will once again overlook him.

This could result in Connor Gallagher’s partner Jorginho not being available with Kovacic and Kante.

Mason Mount could find himself on the bench nursing a slight calf strain.

His fellow Englishman Raheem Sterling could get his nod, with Kai Havertz in the up-and-coming role.

And with Bruja undergoing knee surgery, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is Chelsea’s only recognized striker.

The former Arsenal captain has struggled since returning to England after a short stint at Barcelona.

He has scored just once in the First Division for the Blues, and has not scored since making his league debut against Crystal Palace on 1 October.

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