Thomas Tuchel confirms massive injury blow to key defender hours before London derby

Chelsea dealt huge injury blow hours before West Ham with key defender left at home.

James has been brilliant when he’s played, evidenced by his monstrous performance against Real Madrid in the Champions League even if the Spanish side eventually qualified with a late Benzema goal.

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His return has been a mixture of brilliant performances on the pitch and consistently being left out due to injuries.

The Champions League winning manager said ahead of West Ham: “Especially when we already miss Mateo and Toni, it is a big loss for us. With Reece individually, having only just come back from injury a short while ago there really is no choice for us today than to be safe and leave him out.

“He will use this time to have a little bit more time to recover. Ruben will come into right wing-back in his place. He was so strong in that position against Southampton and Real Madrid and we want him to continue in that form.

“It allows us to move him out of the midfield because we have Jorgi and N’Golo to play there and it also means we can move Azpi into one of the three central defensive positions in place of Reece.

There was also a late change to the starting eleven with Andreas Christensen initially named to start against West Ham replaced by Trevoh Chalobah just before kick off.