Andre Schurrle may lead Chelsea attack against United at Old Trafford
Jose Mourinho considers his options as strikers Loic Remy and Diego Costa unfit
Chelsea striker Diego Costa: unlikely to feature at Old Trafford. Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Chelsea are considering playing Andre Schurrle as a central striker in Sunday’s trip to Manchester United after Loic Remy joined Diego Costa on the sidelines, with the pair struggling with groin injuries.
Remy sustained an injury while scoring in the 6-0 midweek rout of Maribor in the Champions League and underwent scans on Wednesday.
Despite the player having been initially optimistic as to his chances of featuring at the weekend, the results of those tests have confirmed he will be out for up to two weeks.
His absence is particularly untimely given Costa’s fitness issues. The Spain forward, hampered by hamstring trouble all season, was hospitalised briefly with a stomach virus after complaining of cramps this week but, more seriously, is suffering from a groin strain apparently picked up on international duty this month. He has failed to train properly since returning to London after the Euro 2016 qualifiers against Slovakia and Luxembourg.
Cryptic José Mourinho had been cryptic as to the nature of Costa’s absence for Saturday’s victory at Crystal Palace but suggested the €40 million signing had yet to overcome the hamstring problem. But while that complaint would have required a period of rest the 26-year-old needed intensive treatment this week on the groin injury.
That remains the main concern and there is an acceptance within the club’s medical staff that it is unlikely Costa will be able to feature at all at Old Trafford. Indeed, there is intense frustration at Cobham that a player who had been managing the hamstring complaint before the international window, scoring nine goals in seven Premier League appearances, returned from the Spain squad with an additional complaint.
The pair’s absence would leave Didier Drogba, who has suffered ankle injuries this term and admitted he was short of match fitness, as the team’s only fit senior forward against United. The Ivorian veteran scored the first goal of his second spell at the club in the victory over Maribor, from the penalty spot, but has not started a Premier League game since returning to English football from Galatasaray.
Instead, Mourinho is exploring the possibility of starting with Schurrle as his principal forward at Old Trafford now that the player has recovered from the bout of flu which had ruled him out of Germany’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Scotland last week. Schurrle began the corresponding fixture last season up front, with Mourinho much criticised for failing to field an out-and- out striker. Guardian Service