Chelsea have a James-sized hole to fill

It is easy to see why Chelsea were interested in finding cover at right wing-back last summer. Reece James’s knee injury has given Graham Potter a conundrum to solve before his team host Manchester United on Saturday. There is no ready-made alternative to the England international. The experiment of using Raheem Sterling as James’s stand-in was swiftly aborted during Chelsea’s win over Villa last weekend and César Azpilicueta does not have the legs to charge up and down the right flank against top opposition. Ruben Loftus-Cheek is a likelier candidate. The midfielder did well as a wing-back for Thomas Tuchel and has filled in there for Potter. However Loftus-Cheek is not a defender – he had some uncomfortable moments against Brentford in midweek – and his delivery is not as incisive as James. United should look to target that flank. Jacob Steinberg

Chelsea v Manchester United, Saturday

Add a Comment