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Breaking: Reece James starts for Chelsea against AFC Bournemouth



Chelsea missed the World Cup after picking up a serious knee injury

Chelsea mark their return to Premier League action with a home clash against AFC Bournemouth on Tuesday night.

The World Cup arrived at a timely moment for Graham Potter, who oversaw three straight league defeats before the unprecedented break. Chelsea’s pitiful form in the wake of Potter’s honeymoon period saw them slide down to eighth in the table.

The club accumulated just 21 points through 14 games and haven’t tasted victory in the Premier League since 16 October, when they beat Aston Villa 2-0.
Injuries played a major role in the Blues’ demise before the World Cup and the break allowed those sidelined to recover in time for the club’s festive schedule. Reece James’ absence down the right flank was a particular blow, but Potter should be welcoming the England international back to the fold very soon.

How long has Reece James been out for?
Chelsea have been without their superb full-back since mid-October after he picked up a knee injury in his side’s 2-0 victory over AC Milan in the Champions League.

He has missed nine competitive games as a result with Chelsea winning just two of these encounters (2-1 victories over RB Salzburg and Dinamo Zagreb in Europe). Crucially, the injury ruled James out of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The full-back had hoped Gareth Southgate would include him in his 26-man squad after progressing well in rehab, but the England boss opted against picking the injured Chelsea star as the Three Lions were eventually knocked out in the quarter-finals.
When will Reece James return from injury?
James played over an hour in Chelsea’s friendly against Brentford last week and Potter is hopeful that the full-back will be ready to play against Bournemouth on Tuesday night.

“The plan now is to try and help him play his minutes and the next challenge is building them up in the Premier League, which is not an ideal place to do that but he’s got the capacity to do it,” the Chelsea boss said in the build-up to the Blues’ Premier League return.

However, Potter also stressed caution: “We just need to be clear and careful with the minutes that he plays but I’m confident that the more football he plays, the more we’ll see what a fantastic player he is.

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