Fernandez, Palmer, Gusto – Chelsea injury news and return dates for Aston Villa tie

Chelsea's Enzo Fernandez
Enzo Fernandez applauds the Chelsea supporters -Credit:Glyn Kirk/AFP

Chelsea midfielder Enzo Fernandez will miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery on a groin injury. It is the latest blow for the Argentine after a difficult campaign at Stamford Bridge.

Mauricio Pochettino will be determined to return to winning ways when Chelsea lock horns with Aston Villa this weekend. Unai Emery will welcome the Blues to Villa Park on Saturday afternoon as either side hopes to climb the Premier League table.

Chelsea head into the clash following back-to-back defeats to Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final and Arsenal on Tuesday night. While the west London outfit are six points adrift of Manchester United in sixth, they've got a game in hand – which could prove pivotal by the end of the season.

With some big names potentially back in action, Chelsea could certainly reignite their chance of clinching top four – but Aston Villa are no pushovers. So, has taken a look at the latest Chelsea injury news ahead of the Blues' trip to Villa Park.

Enzo Fernandez

Enzo Fernandez will miss the remainder of the season after undergoing groin surgery. The Argentine was forced off against Everton during the 6-0 win for the Blues but has been forced to go under the knife to correct the issue.

In a statement on Thursday, the club wrote: "Enzo Fernandez has today undergone successful surgery on a groin issue and will now begin a period of rehabilitation, sidelining him for the remainder of Chelsea’s 2023/24 season.

"The 23-year-old midfielder will work with the club's medical department on his rehabilitation at Cobham."

Injury: Groin

Possible return date: Next season.

Cole Palmer

On Thursday afternoon, Palmer posed for a picture with a Chelsea supporter, who goes by @ChelseaFanTVyt on X, at Cobham. The 21-year-old midfielder was kitted out in his training gear and looked as if he had just been put through his paces.

Injury: Illness.

What Pochettino has said: "Today [training], no. We need to assess him tomorrow morning. But today, no, I don't believe he can be involved, but we need to assess him tomorrow and then we can decide.

"Even if he will be good tomorrow, maybe he is not in a condition to play. I hope he can recover from this situation as soon as possible and be involved again with the team."

Possible return date: Aston Villa (A) - Saturday, April 27.

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Levi Colwill

Colwill has been nursing a toe injury, which has caused him to miss some big games for Chelsea. The 21-year-old defender has been ruled out of action for a while now, but he's recently returned to partial first-team training.

Injury: Toe.

What Pochettino has said: "We only found out after the [Brentford] game. We finished with two players who then couldn't train. Levi's problem is his toe."

Possible return date: Aston Villa (A) - Saturday, April 27.

Malo Gusto

Gusto was absent from the matchday squad against Arsenal after picking up a knock against Manchester City.

Injury: Knee.

What Pochettino has said: "Malo suffered a minor problem in his knee ligaments. I am not a doctor, but you asked me and I respect trying to translate what is going on. I hope it is not a big issue."

Possible return date: Unknown.

Ben Chilwell

Chilwell was absent from the matchday squad against Arsenal despite featuring off the bench against Manchester City on Saturday.

injury: Unknown.

What Pochettino has said: "Chilly, also, after the national team – it's the same problem he suffered in the last few weeks."

Possible return date: Unknown.

Reece James

James has just begun partial first-team training following an extended period on the sidelines. The 24-year-old defender has been undergoing rehabilitation for a muscle issue which has kept him out of action for a large chunk of the season.

Injury: Hamstring.

What Pochettino has said: "We were talking and he has started his recovery, one day closer to being with the group. This is really positive and we're all positive around him, we are going to help. It's tough for a player with a very complicated and difficult season for him. Now's the process to start to recover and it's one day less until he's part of the group. The most important thing is to start to solve the problem and help him to be strong."

Possible return date: Unknown.

Christopher Nkunku

Nkunku is now back in partial team training, according to the official club website. The 26-year-old forward has been out for most of the season, and he's currently missing with a hamstring issue.

Injury: Hamstring.

What Pochettino has said: "They assess him day by day and in the last few days he has the possibility to be involved in some parts of the training session. We now need to see the reaction of his body and see how he evolves. We hope he can be involved soon."

Possible return date: May.

Robert Sanchez

Sanchez had been 'absent due to illness' in the past week but has now returned to partial team training. He struggled with fitness earlier this season and wasn't included in the FA Cup semi-final squad or the defeat to Arsenal.

Injury: Illness.

Possible return date: Aston Villa (A) - Saturday, April 27.

Romeo Lavia

Lavia is 'continuing to undergo his rehabilitation programme'. The 20-year-old midfielder has featured just once for Chelsea this season, having struggled to stay match-fit and escape injury.

Injury: Thigh.

Possible return date: Next season.

Lesley Ugochukwu

The Frenchman has returned to partial team training after four months out. The 20-year-old midfielder's last appearance came on Christmas Eve.

Injury: Unknown.

Possible return date: Next season.

Wesley Fofana

Fofana hasn't featured once this season after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament. The 23-year-old defender has recently returned to training on the pitches at Cobham, though he's considered to be a long way from returning to first-team action.

Injury: ACL.

What Pochettino has said: "Unfortunately, I think it is difficult to see Wes playing this season, but you never know."

Possible return date: Next season.