Chelsea handed Malo Gusto fitness boost but Mauricio Pochettino has Enzo Fernandez concern

Chelsea handed Malo Gusto fitness boost but Mauricio Pochettino has Enzo Fernandez concern

Chelsea defender Malo Gusto is expected to be fit to face Burnley, but there are concerns over Enzo Fernandez’s availability when the Premier League returns this weekend.

Right-back Gusto last week withdrew from Thierry Henry’s France Under-21 squad with a virus, but has recovered quickly and should be available for Saturday’s match at Stamford Bridge.

The in-form defender’s return will be a major boost for Mauricio Pochettino, who is still expected to be without injured captain Reece James.

However, the Blues boss will be concerned about Fernandez’s availability, with Argentina playing a friendly against Costa Rica at 7:50pm local time in Los Angeles on Tuesday night - 2:50am in the UK in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

 (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
(Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

The £107million midfielder will then have a 14-hour flight back to Cobham, allowing him just one training session with Chelsea before the game against Vincent Kompany’s relegation-threatened side.

Such circumstances will likely see Fernandez named on the bench as he also deals with jet lag following international duty on another continent.

Cole Palmer missed England's 1-0 defeat by Brazil at Wembley on Saturday, with Carney Chukwuemeka also missing the Under-21s’ victory over Azerbaijan.

While Palmer remains with the Three Lions before their meeting with Belgium, Chukwuemeka has now withdrawn from U21 duty ahead of Tuesday’s next European Championship qualifier against Luxembourg in Bolton.

Chelsea said Chukwuemeka had returned to Cobham early to “work on his fitness”, having scored a crucial late goal in the dramatic 4-2 win over Leicester in the FA Cup quarter-finals last weekend.

If fit to face Burnley, the pair will likely be in contention to fill Pochettino's third midfield slot alongside Moises Caicedo and Conor Gallagher - who started for Ecuador and England respectively against Italy and Brazil at the weekend - in Fernandez's absence. Six other Chelsea players, including star forward Christopher Nkunku, are still out injured.