Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has confirmed both Romelu Lukaku and Callum Hudson-Odoi have tested negative for Covid-19 and could return to training imminently.
The duo tested positive before the 1-1 draw with Everton earlier this month and, alongside Timo Werner and the already injured Ben Chilwell, missed the last three matches in all competitions, including Wednesday’s 2-0 victory over Brentford.
After that game, Tuchel revealed Lukaku and Hudson-Odoi are clear to return to training, but everything depends on how the pair are feeling after their illness.
“If I understood it correctly, we need a negative test first of all and we have negative tests for Romelu and Callum and Ben Chilwell,” Tuchel said (via the Evening Standard).
“Chilwell will not be involved in the Aston Villa game [because of injury] and for the other two, they will be on the pitch tomorrow if they are again negative tomorrow and then we need to see.
“The guys have been ill, they had symptoms, so let’s see. It’s a Premier League game in one of the toughest places you can play in the Premier League. It’s good news, don’t get me wrong, it’s very good news, but I’m not over-excited now because I know I need to check how they are.”
Fellow forwards Timo Werner and Kai Havertz continue to test positive, as do midfielders Ruben Loftus-Cheek and reserve man Lewis Baker.
Tuchel is hopeful of coming through his recent fitness crisis in the near future. Chilwell and Hakim Ziyech remain out injured but there is optimism that Werner will be out of isolation soon and Havertz and Loftus-Cheek will follow suit soon after.
Victory over Brentford saw Chelsea book their place in the semi-final of the Carabao Cup, which is both a blessing and a curse as it adds a two-legged tie against Tottenham Hotspur to a January schedule which is already full to the brim.
The Blues have two more Premier League games to close out the calendar year but will then face a run of six games in just over three weeks across three competitions.