London: Chelsea’s returning striker Romelu Lukaku is in line to make his second debut for the club in Sunday’s London derby against Arsenal, manager Thomas Tuchel said.
Lukaku was not involved in Chelsea’s 3-0 win over Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday as he was observing coronavirus protocols after travelling from Italy to re-join the club from Inter Milan.
The 28-year-old returned to Chelsea in a reported 97.5 million pounds ($135 million) move seven years on from his departure after helping the Serie A side to their first league title in 11 years last season.
“We expect Romelu to finish quarantine in time to be able to join the team training on Tuesday. We will try to prepare him to play against Arsenal and hopefully he can be on the pitch,” Tuchel said.
Midfielder N’Golo Kante, who missed Chelsea’s first league game of the season as a precaution after ankle pain, is expected to be involved on Sunday, Tuchel added, but Ruben Loftus-Cheek is out of contention after testing positive for COVID-19.
“N’Golo felt discomfort in his ankle on Friday. He felt it in the warm-up to the Super Cup match against Villarreal. He played a little bit in pain and (on Friday) he felt it again,” Tuchel said.
“We decided to take him out and not take any risk now at the beginning of the season. I think N’Golo will be back in the middle of the week to get ready for Arsenal. Ruben has, unfortunately, had a positive test on Thursday. He is in isolation and following the protocol, and that’s why he could not be in the (Palace) group.”