Chelsea delivered double defensive injury blow ahead of Newcastle United clash

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Chelsea are sweating over the fitness of two defenders ahead of their trip to Newcastle United later this month.

Newcastle United are facing up to several injury issues ahead of their return to Premier League action against Chelsea later this month - but their visitors have concerns of their own before they travel to Tyneside.

Blues manager Mauricio Pochettino is slowly but surely starting to coax an improvement out of his squad after his reign at Stamford Bridge got off to a slow start. After claiming just one win in their opening six Premier League games, the West London outfit have shown some signs of life with wins against Fulham and Tottenham Hotspur and battling draws with Arsenal and Manchester City.

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Sunday's dramatic 4-4 draw with the reigning Premier League champions ensured Pochettino's side will head into the international break sat in tenth place in the table, four points shy of Newcastle and ten points adrift of the top four.

But there was a double defensive blow for the former Spurs boss to deal with on Tuesday as Levi Colwill was forced to withdraw from the England squad and Malo Gusto has returned to West London from international duty with France Under-21s after an MRI scan revealed an issue with his knee.

Colwill, who impressed during a year-long loan with Brighton last season, had hoped to win his second senior cap for England when Gareth Southgate's round off their successful Euro 2024 qualification campaign with games against Malta and North Macedonia over the next week.

But a shoulder injury suffered during Sunday's 4-4 draw with Manchester City has meant the 20-year-old has now returned to Chelsea for an assessment on the severity of the damage. An FA statement read: "Jude Bellingham and Levi Colwill will play no part in England’s forthcoming UEFA EURO 2024 qualifiers against Malta and North Macedonia. The pair arrived at St. George’s Park for assessments on Monday but will now return to Real Madrid and Chelsea respectively to continue their rehabilitation."

Newcastle have also had a player withdraw from England duty after striker Callum Wilson was forced to miss both games with a hamstring issue.

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