The two Englishmen have been in stellar form for Chelsea in the ongoing season and have played a monumental role on both offensive and defensive fronts for Frank Lampard's men. However, James was ruled out ahead of Chelsea's clash against West Ham United after he was sent for scans about a minor knee injury.
While the full extent of it hasn't been clarified yet, the in-form right-back could be unavailable for the festive period as the injury was not as minor as initially thought, and he could have aggravated it after playing against Wolves and Everton.
Matters were made worse during the Blues' Premier League game against the Hammers. Chelsea eventually won the game at Stamford Bridge by three goals, Chilwell had to be replaced by Emerson Palmieri just over five minutes into the game after he twisted his ankle.
The title-chasers could be forced to rely on their two deputy full-backs in Emerson and Cesar Azpilicueta for their upcoming fixtures.
James ruled out, Chilwell unlikely to recover for Chelsea's derby clash against Arsenal
Frank Lampard revealed that he isn't confident about the prospect of Ben Chilwell recovering from his injury to face Arsenal. The Blues are set for a huge Boxing Day encounter as they're scheduled to face Mikel Arteta's Gunners on Saturday night.
Speaking on his star left-back's situation, Lampard said;
"I expect he’ll be doubtful for Arsenal. He turned his ankle and tried to carry on but it was too painful. We’ll have a scan tomorrow to try and see how bad the injury is. We’ll update after."
The Englishman added later on,
"We want to attack with our full backs. They know that. Reece and Chilly have been doing really well, we hope their injuries are not that bad and will be in and around the games over Christmas. So we’ll see. But I was pleased with the two lads [Azpilicueta and Emerson] today. They were comfortable."
Chilwell was purchased from Leicester City in the summer for £50m and he has looked to be an excellent addition so far. Both Chilwell and James have had impressive attacking numbers as well for Chelsea this season, with the left-back scoring two and assisting four while the right-back has scored one and set up three so far.
Elsewhere, Hakim Ziyech and Callum Hudson-Odoi are also on the treatment table and are unlikely to be available for the game against Arsenal.
Published 22 Dec 2020, 19:15 IST