Palmer, Gusto, Sterling - Latest Chelsea injury news and return dates for Aston Villa clash

Cole Palmer and Deivid Washington of Chelsea during a open training session at Chelsea Training Ground on April 25, 2024 in Cobham, England.

Chelsea could have up to 12 players absent through injury for the Premier League clash with Aston Villa. Mauricio Pochettino was without Cole Palmer for the damaging defeat to Arsenal earlier in the week however he looks set to return but with that has come a double blow.

Numerous injury issues have plagued Chelsea's 2023/24 season with Christopher Nkunku, Romeo Lavia and Reece James among those to miss the bulk of the campaign. Niggling issues have also hampered the likes of Malo Gusto, Carney Chukwuemeka and Robert Sanchez with the trio back to being absent.

Alongside Chukwuemeka as a new addition to the Blues' growing list of absentees, Raheem Sterling has suffered a new injury. Considering Chelsea's significant injury problems, Pochettino will likely be forced into naming another youthful bench with an Enzo Fernandez replacement needed in this weekend's matchday squad.

With that said, has rounded up the latest Chelsea injury news and potential return dates before the visit to Aston Villa.

Raheem Sterling

Sterling was added to Chelsea's injury report on Friday, just over 24 hours before the Premier League clash against Aston Villa.

What Pochettino has said: "Sterling suffered a pain in his lower back."

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Injury: Back

Possible return date: Unknown

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: "Cole was training well in the last few days. We assume he is going to be ready for tomorrow and be part of the squad."

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

Carney Chukwuemeka

Chukwuemeka has seen his debut season at Chelsea continue to be riddled by injuries with a recurrence of a previous problem seeing him added back to the injury report.

What Pochettino has said: "Carney feels something in his knee. Related to his problem before. Hopefully it's not a big issue and they can be available as soon as possible because now we are going to lose two players who were there and thinking can help the team."

Injury: Knee

Possible return date: Unknown.

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."

What Pochettino has said: "At the moment he feels the pain and he feels the limitations because of the problem. The most important thing is to fix the problem for him. If he does not feel well, he cannot perform because of the situation, it's not good for him, the team or the club."

Injury: Groin

Possible return date: Next season.

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: "No, they [James and Colwill] are not available yet. They are close. Today and yesterday they were doing some partial training with the squad. They are close but still not available."

Possible return date: May 2024

Malo Gusto

Gusto was absent from the matchday squad against Arsenal after picking up a knock against Manchester City. The France international is back on the Chelsea injury report and is expected to be absent against Aston Villa.

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: "No, they are not available yet. They are close. Today and yesterday they were doing some partial training with the squad. They are close but still not available."

Possible return date: May 2024

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.