Chelsea will be without six players when they face Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Manager Graham Potter will have to find a way to compete with Mikel Arteta’s side, who are currently top of the Premier League table.
Ben Chilwell will have scans on a torn hamstring on Friday afternoon after he limped off in the last minute of the 2-1 win over Dinamo Zagreb in midweek, and will be a serious doubt to miss the World Cup.
“He’s feeling fine but he’s obviously aware of the injury and we have to let the swelling settle down, hence the delay in the scan,” Potter said. “Then we’ll know more.
“I wouldn’t say he’s fearing the worst but we’ve all seen the nature of the injury. I can’t say it looks positive but until we get a scan it’s hard to say.
Reece James and Wesley Fofana are out and continue their rehabilitation programmes in Dubai in their bid to overcome longer-term knee injuries. N’Golo Kante has had surgery to correct a serious hamstring issue and will be on the sidelines for at least three more months.
Kepa Arrizabalaga will also be out until club football resumes at the end of December, meaning Edouard Mendy will start in goal against the Gunners.
“Kepa, no [he isn’t available],” Potter said on Friday. “He has plantar fasciitis on the bottom of his foot. I don’t think he will play before the World Cup.”
Young midfielder Carney Chukwuemeka has spent the last week training alone as Chelsea manage his hamstring complaint.
The Blues are boosted by the return of Mateo Kovacic who was left out of the recent Champions League win due to tightness in his calf.
Chelsea opted for a 3-4-3 formation under Potter against Manchester United and it could guide their starting line up for Sunday.
It would mean all their fit defenders start after Kalidou Koulibaly returned three days ago, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is likely to face his former club.
Predicted Chelsea XI (3-4-3):
Mendy; Chalobah, Silva, Koulibaly; Azpilicueta, Kovacic, Jorginho, Cucurella; Mount, Aubameyang, Sterling
Arsenal team news
Arsenal’s Thursday night victory over FC Zurich saw the return of Mohamed Elneny from a lengthy absence. Oleksandr Zinchenko also made his first squad in a month. The left-back may be ushered into the starting XI after Takehiro Tomiyasu pulled up with a hamstring problem in midweek.
Bukayo Saka limped off against Nottingham Forest last Sunday but only missed a couple of training sessions and came off the bench against Zurich.
Emile Smith Rowe remains sidelined with a long-term groin problem while backup goalkeeper Matt Turner is also dealing with some discomfort in the same area.
Arsenal predicted lineup vs Chelsea
Arsenal Starting 11 (4-3-3): Ramsdale; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Odegaard, Partey, Xhaka; Saka, Jesus, Martinelli.