Palmer, Gusto, Nkunku - Chelsea injury news and return dates for Aston Villa

Cole Palmer of Chelsea

Chelsea deeply missed Cole Palmer during Tuesday's heavy defeat at Arsenal.

Mauricio Pochettino will be eager for the Blues' top scorer to return to action as soon as possible as he aims for a strong start to the season. It remains to be seen whether the former Manchester City man will have recovered from his illness for this weekend's clash with Aston Villa.

Malo Gusto was another big miss for Pochettino's side, who failed to lay a glove on the Gunners earlier this week. The French defender, like Palmer, has been one of the few consistent performers during what has been a testing campaign.

Chelsea will be looking to get back on track on Saturday evening, though have various injury issues to contend with. Here, has the latest injury news ahead of this weekend's trip to Birmingham.

Cole Palmer

Palmer was absent for the Blues' 5-0 loss at Arsenal after suffering with an illness after the FA Cup semi-final defeat by Manchester City.

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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Malo Gusto

Gusto has endured some injury problems this season with another appearing to emerge against City. The France international received treatment from the physios in the final quarter of proceedings before being subbed off in the 79th minute. He was also absent for the Arsenal clash.

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."

Injury: Unknown.

Possible return date: Unknown.

Ben Chilwell

Chilwell was named as a substitute against Man City on Saturday, appearing late on in the game, but failed to make the matchday squad on Tuesday night.

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

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.

Levi Colwill

Colwill is 'continuing to undergo his rehabilitation programme', according to the club. The 21-year-old defender has been nursing a toe injury, which has caused him to miss some big games for Chelsea and hasn't played in over four weeks.

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: Unknown.

Reece James

James has been sidelined for the vast majority of the season, though has recently begun rehabilitation after undergoing hamstring surgery at the end of last year. He continues to train individually at Cobham and has been involved in outdoor solo work for over four weeks.

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.

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 has not played once in 2023/24 due to an ACL injury. The 23-year-old defender has returned to training on the pitches at Cobham, though is considered a long way from returning to action.

Injury: Ruptured anterior cruciate ligament.

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.