Chelsea are expected to be without Reece James for Tuesday’s meeting with Southampton as the right-back is suffering with an illness.

James has played every minute of Chelsea’s four Premier League games so far, recently being deployed as a right-sided centre-back and giving his favoured wing-back spot to Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

Numerous sources have reported that James is unwell and has not travelled with the Chelsea squad for Tuesday’s game, giving manager Thomas Tuchel a real headache in defence.

In James’ place, Cesar Azpilicueta is likely to be deployed at centre-back or right-back, depending on Tuchel’s choice of system, with Loftus-Cheek tasked with most of the running ahead of him on the wing.

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However, Loftus-Cheek may be needed in midfield, where Conor Gallagher is suspended and N’Golo Kante is injured. Currently, Jorginho and a half-fit Mateo Kovacic are the only fit options for that role, which could bring about a call-up for summer signing Carney Chukwuemeka, who has been playing with the development side.

Tuchel also has Kalidou Koulibaly back at his disposal after the Senegal international missed the 3-0 defeat to Leeds through suspension.


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