Chelsea have a star-studded squad with a number of world class players in almost every position in the team.
While this has been an advantage for the Blues, on the other hand, it means that not every player in the side will get regular minutes.
To secure adequate playing time for a club like Chelsea, a huge number of factors will have to be taken into consideration, such as form, fitness, etc.
Head coach Thomas Tuchel is fond of playing the very best players available at the club, which makes it hard for any player who's not world-class to get playing time.
The fringe players are most of the time limited to cup games for the Blues. They are sometimes even dropped in fixtures that have a lot at stake, thus reducing their game time even further.
On that note, this article will take a look at the six first-team Chelsea players with the fewest minutes played this season. This does not include Ben Chilwell, who has been out for most of the season due to injury.
(All stats are according to transfermarkt.com)
#1 Malang Sarr
The French defender has been a fringe player at the London club and hasn't been able to nail down a starting spot ever since returning from loan in 2021.
Sarr has been used as a squad player for the Blues in his first full season as a first-team member at Chelsea.
The majority of his appearances this season have come in cup competitions, and he has also filled in at positions such as left-back and left-wing-back this campaign.
Considering the form of Antonio Rudiger, it has been very difficult for Sarr to displace the German defender from his preferred left-center-back position this season.
Sarr has so far had a combined total of 1484 minutes this season for the Blues, making 19 appearances in all competitions.
#2 Saul Niguez
Despite making his debut for Chelsea almost immediately after joining from Atletico Madrid on loan, the Spanish midfielder has failed to nail down a regular spot in the team.
Saul has also been relatively used as a squad player, occupying a handful of positions such as left-wing-back and centre-midfield.
He hasn't been able to get many minutes in his preferred midfield position, as Tuchel has stuck with the options of Mateo Kovacic, Ngolo Kante or Jorginho.
Saul has so far played a combined total of 1075 minutes for Chelsea, making 21 appearances in all competitions and scoring one goal.
#3 Kepa Arrizabalaga
Another Chelsea player who has been used relatively sparingly by Tuchel this season is Spanish shot-stopper Kepa.
The world's most expensive goalkeeper has been relegated to second choice at Stamford Bridge behind Senegalese shot-stopper Edouard Mendy.
Also, considering the fact that the goalkeeping section isn't one that is subject to much rotation, it has seen Kepa being starved of playing time this season.
He has been mainly frequent in goal for the Blues during cup games, and his best spell in the league came in January when Mendy was at the AFCON.
Kepa has been limited to just 1201 minutes for the Blues this season, making a combined total of just 15 appearances in all competitions and keeping six cleansheets.
#4 Ross Barkley
The English midfielder has seen his football career experience a downward slide in recent years and this season hasn't been an exception.
Barkley failed to secure a loan move away from Chelsea prior to the start of the current football campaign. He was thus drafted into the Blues' first-team despite losing his squad number to Mason Mount.
He had a relatively decent pre-season and even managed to work his way into Tuchel's plans earlier this season, finding minutes against the likes of Juventus and Southampton.
Barkley also got a rare Premier League start against Burnley at home in November but couldn't take his chances as the Blues played out a disappointing 1-1 draw.
He is currently one of the few Chelsea players with no goal contributions, making 12 appearances in all competitions, with a total of 428 minutes.
#5 Marcus Bettinelli
Another first-team player at Chelsea who has also been starved of regular minutes this season is English goalkeeper Bettinelli.
The experienced shot-stopper is currently the third-choice goalkeeper in the London side. This makes it difficult for him to start games, as he will need to rise above both Mendy and Kepa.
Bettinelli joined the Blues at the start of the current football campaign to fill the vacancy left by the departure of veteran Willy Caballero.
He is still without a single minute in the Premier League for the Blues this season. Bettinelli, however, was handed a very rare start in the FA Cup against Chesterfield in January.
Chelsea's third-choice goalkeeper has so far had a combined total of 90 minutes across all competitions, making only one appearance this season.
#6 Kenedy (Recalled by Chelsea from loan)
The Brazilian star was initially recalled in January midway through his loan to Flamengo to provide cover at left-wing-back following a long-term injury to Ben Chilwell.
However, things haven't quite gone to plan for Kenedy since his return in January, as he has failed to get tangible game time.
The 26-year-old Brazilian has so far been relegated to just FA Cup games since his return, making only one start and a substitute appearance.
The Brazilian was handed a very rare start by Tuchel in the FA Cup fifth-round clash against Luton Town in the month of March.
He has so far been limited to just 70 minutes this season, making just two appearances in all competitions for the Blues.
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