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Football London
Football London
Scott Trotter

Gallagher update, Man Utd verdict, Cristiano Ronaldo - Chelsea questions Potter must answer

Graham Potter has seen no shortage of tasks since taking over as Chelsea boss, but this weekend could see his stiffest challenge in the Premier League so far. The Blues head coach has helped stabilise the west London side after a tumultuous start to the season and has seen Chelsea rise to the top four and the top of their Champions League group with five wins and two draws.

Stamford Bridge welcomes Manchester United this weekend, who currently sit one point behind Chelsea in fifth place. They have had struggles of their own as Erik ten Hag acclimatised to his new surroundings but come into the game with four wins in their last five matches, having defeated Tottenham 2-0.

With Cristiano Ronaldo dropped from the Red Devils squad, there will have been plenty of distraction behind the scenes, and Chelsea will look to take advantage and get back to winning ways. With that said, looks at the topics that will be on Potter's agenda ahead of Manchester United.

READ MORE: Graham Potter has a new Chelsea undroppable ahead of Manchester United clash

Injury updates

There is probably not a great deal to fathom across long-term absentees Reece James, Wesley Fofana and N'Golo Kante, but Friday afternoon will provide the opportunity for more details on each. Does the four-week period Potter noted that James would be in a brace suggest surgery? How has Kante reacted to a significant setback in his recovery and missing the World Cup?

The issue to come away from the draw with Brentford was surrounded by Conor Gallagher's latest. The midfielder needed substituting after 15 minutes in that game, though Potter allayed fears that it was due to injury and suggested the 22-year-old appeared ill.

The Blues boss said in his press conference: "I haven't spoken to the doctor, but he just felt ill. He felt like he was going to be sick. You could probably see that in his first 15 minutes, he wasn't quite himself, so hopefully, it's just a 24-hour thing, and he will be okay. Obviously, that probably affected him and us a little bit, but hopefully, he recovers quickly."

Friday will present the opportunity to discover whether Gallagher has recovered and the severity of his issue. With that, Chelsea's ability to rotate will come into question once again.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United progress

Chelsea were never far away from being mentioned in the same breath as Ronaldo this summer, and with the news, Manchester United have suspended him after he refused to be substituted onto the pitch against Tottenham, it will be no surprise if his situation takes up a significant portion of Graham Potter's press conference.

The former Brighton boss refused to discuss the possibility of a Ronaldo transfer earlier this season and is unlikely to countenance doing so at Cobham on Friday. With Ronaldo's days at Manchester United seemingly numbered, the question is sure to be attempted, however, given Todd Boehly's summer interest.

Potter is sure to be asked about the situation and how he would deal with a player that refuses to play from the bench and to assess Erik ten Hag's job at Old Trafford. The Red Devils appear to have made some progress and have defeated the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham at home this season - all without Ronaldo in the starting lineup.

At the very least, Ronaldo's presence on the pitch will be one thing that Potter does not have to prepare his team for, perhaps making the opposition a tad more predictable.


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