IT looked bad for Ben Chilwell (£4.9m) the moment he went down against Juventus on Tuesday night.
The 24-year-old’s body language and the response of Chelsea’s medical team indicated a potentially serious injury and news has since filtered through of ACL damage.
Some anterior cruciate ligament injuries require a year of rehabilitation but thankfully it seems Chilwell did not suffer the worst possible rupture.
However, the Blues will be without their first-choice left-back for a few months at least, possibly until the end of the season.
It’s never nice when a player suffers a significant injury but it feels particularly cruel when the individual is in the midst of such fine form.
Having sat out most the first month of the season, Chilwell has been superb since reestablishing himself as Thomas Tuchel’s first-choice wing-back on the left flank, scoring three goals and providing an assist on top of typically diligent defending.
In truth, his partnership with Reece James (£5.9m) on the opposite flank has provided Chelsea’s primary thrust in recent weeks.
The England international will undoubtedly be a big miss for the league leaders but, more importantly, his injury has left plenty of Dream Team managers with a problem to solve.
Chilwell was in the top ten most-popular defenders at the start of Game Week 12 and many of his owners will have to wait until transfers are refreshed next week before making a change.
Those with a transfer or two left for November will need to replace Chilwell before this weekend’s games get underway.
The best solution is probably to simply bring in another Chelsea defender.
Tuchel’s men have the best defensive record in the Premier League this season and, more broadly, have been the best team in Europe’s top five leagues defensively since the German tactician was appointed.
Marcos Alonso (£4.1m) would be the natural replacement as the Spaniard provided excellent returns when he was first-choice left-back at the start of the campaign.
However, it would be typical of Tuchel to spring a surprise.
We may see the adaptable Cesar Azpilicueta (£5.4m) fulfil the role from time to time, possibly even Callum Hudson-Odoi (£2.5m).
Wing-backs are naturally more likely to contribute going forward but the likes of Thiago Silva (£4.6m) and Antonio Rudiger (£4.7m) are absolute bankers – the pair are the fourth and fifth respectively in the defenders’ rankings right now.
Those with extra cash to spare would be wise to consider the transfer of Chilwell to James – assuming you don’t already have the impressive right-back.
With five goals and five assists to his name in all competitions, the 21-year-old is comfortably the best defender Dream Team has to offer right now with a points tally of 127 – only Mohamed Salah (£7.9m) has more among all assets.
Away from Stamford Bridge, Manchester City pair Ruben Dias (£4.4m) and Kyle Walker (£4.2m) could both be considered suitable replacements for Chilwell.
Joao Cancelo (£6.0m) is Pep Guardiola’s main man at the moment but you’d need to find another £1.1m to bring him in for the crocked Chelsea defender, which is unfeasible for the majority.
Hopefully it won’t be too long until we’re celebrating Chilwell returns once more but for now, Dream Team gaffers will have to look elsewhere.
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