Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante is back in the squad for Tuesday’s Champions League Group H game with Ajax.
Kante, 28, has made just five starts in an injury-hit season, most recently suffering a groin problem.
“We’ve been able to get some work into him, he’s in the squad and he’s available,” said manager Frank Lampard.
Midfielder Ross Barkley (ankle) and defender Andreas Christensen (thigh) are also in training after injury lay-offs last month.
Victory at Stamford Bridge would see Chelsea go three points clear of Ajax in Group H and put them in a strong position to progress to the quarter-finals, with games against Valencia and Lille remaining.
“I said at the start that this group would be tight because all the teams could take points off each other. That has been proved to be correct,” said Lampard.
“After losing the opening game against Valencia, which was disappointing, we have shown a great reaction from that.
“I have to accept it’s expected of Chelsea to go through and that is no disrespect to any other teams. I have said already how hard the group is but it is more about our own expectations.
“That is maybe why we had that reaction. We wanted to prove ourselves, we wanted to go to Ajax and Lille and get results, and we did.
“But we won’t get carried away with ourselves in this group.”
Can Chelsea maintain 100% record against Dutch sides? – the stats
- Ajax have never lost an away Champions League match in England (W1 D3 L0), winning most recently away at Spurs in April 2019. Their last away European Cup defeat on English soil was in April 1980, a 2-0 semi-final defeat against Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest side.
- Chelsea have a 100%-win record in Champions League matches against Dutch opponents, beating Feyenoord twice in the 1999-2000 season and Ajax this season.
- Ajax have won their last five away Champions League matches – prior to this run, the Dutch side had won just four of their previous 38 away games in the competition (W4 D13 L21).
- Ajax manager Erik ten Hag has managed more away UEFA Champions League games without losing than any other manager (seven games), winning five and drawing two. Only two managers have lost none of their first eight away games in the competition – Louis van Gaal (first 14 games) and Pep Guardiola (first 11 games).
- Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi has scored one goal every 47 minutes for the Blues in the Champions League (3 goals in 141 minutes) – the best minutes per goal ratio of any Chelsea player in the competition.
- Dusan Tadic has been directly involved in eight of Ajax’s last 14 goals scored in the group stage of the Champions League (five goals, three assists), including six of their last seven away from home (three goals, three assists).
Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek will miss the Europa League final after rupturing his Achilles tendon in a charity friendly in the USA.
The 23-year-old went down clutching his left ankle in the first half of Chelsea’s 3-0 win over New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium.
Chelsea said the player had seen a specialist on Thursday and will now have surgery.
Chelsea play Arsenal in the final in Baku on Wednesday, 29 May.
England manager Gareth Southgate had earlier confirmed Loftus-Cheek would miss the final when announcing his squad for the forthcoming Nations League finals.
The player had been in the squad – but Southgate was forced to call up a replacement after learning of his injury.
“I went to bed last night and Ruben’s in the squad and playing brilliantly,” Southgate said.
“He misses now a major European final and a brilliant opportunity for us.”
He added it was a “huge disappointment” for the Chelsea man.
Loftus-Cheek scored in the second leg of the Blues’ Europa League semi-final against Eintracht Frankfurt and has been directly involved in nine goals in his past 15 competitive appearances for Chelsea.
Wednesday’s friendly raised £3.1m for organisations which combat hate crimes.
Ross Barkley scored twice either side of an Olivier Giroud header in the comfortable win in Foxborough.
Prior to the game, Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri had expressed his concerns about travelling to the US so close to a major European final.
- How to follow:
- Listen on BBC Radio 5 live and BBC local radio; text commentary on the BBC Sport website
The Europa League has become an “attractive” tournament everyone wants to win, says Arsenal boss Unai Emery.
Emery’s side hold a 3-1 advantage over Valencia after the first leg of their semi-final with the second leg taking place in Spain on Thursday.
The Spaniard won the trophy three times as Sevilla boss and says the incentive of a Champions League spot for the winners has improved the tournament.
“It’s an attractive title and it’s getting more attractive,” said Emery.
“I first competed for this title when it was still the Uefa Cup and was a lesser title than it is now.
“It has grown and I have seen that shift. Giving teams a Champions League place through the Europa League is a fair reward and it’s a title they all want to win.
“It’s an important title for those teams not in the Champions League – and for some who drop into it as a second chance, like Valencia did this season.”
Emery managed Valencia from 2008 to 2012 and then won the Europa League in 2014, 2015 and 2016 while in charge of Sevilla.
“The first time I won it with Sevilla, we didn’t get Champions League access; the second time, we did,” said the 47-year-old in his first season as Arsenal boss.
“The demands are high and everyone wants it, as a title, not just a way in [to the Champions League]. At any club like Arsenal or Valencia, titles have to be the objectives.
“Arsenal only have two European titles in their history: the old Fairs Cup and the Cup Winners’ Cup, neither of which [still] exist, so I have a lot of ambition to win a title.”
Arsenal’s 1-1 draw at home against Brighton on Sunday all but ended their hopes of finishing in the Premier League’s top four.
“We started with two possible routes to the Champions League, one through the Premier League and the second through the Europa League,” added Emery.
“We’re finished in the Premier League, no possibility, but we have a possibility in this competition.
“With big ambition, full motivation, strong mentality, I want to enjoy this game. Games like this, away, difficult team, for an important target is all positive for us.”
Marcelino aims to take inspiration from Liverpool
Like Arsenal, Valencia are fifth in their domestic league with the Europa League representing their best chance of securing Champions League football.
Mouctar Diakhaby gave the Spanish side an early lead in London but two goals from Alexandre Lacazette and an injury-time third from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gave Arsenal a healthy advantage.
Valencia coach Marcelino says his side can take inspiration from Liverpool – who overturned a three-goal first-leg deficit by beating Barcelona 4-0 on Tuesday to reach the Champions League final.
“That game demonstrates that anything can happen,” said Marcelino.
“It’s a lesson that tells us if we play to our maximum we’ll have the chance to make it to the final.
“Every game is different and just because Liverpool beat Barcelona it doesn’t mean we have to knock out Arsenal, but if we do pull it off it’s because we believed we could be in the final.”
- No team has lost the first leg of a Uefa Cup/Europa League semi-final by two or more goals and gone through since Espanyol did it against Club Brugge in 1988.
- In total, five of the previous 28 teams to lose the first leg of a Uefa Cup/Europa League semi-final by two or more goals have ended up progressing.
- Including finals, Arsenal manager Unai Emery has won his past 18 Europa League knockout ties, last being eliminated from the competition in the 2011-12 semi-finals -with Valencia.
- Arsenal have never lost a European tie in which they won the first leg by two or more goals, progressing from all 27 previously.
- Valencia are looking to reach their first major European final since the 2004 Uefa Cup, when they beat Marseille 2-0 under Rafael Benitez.
- Arsenal’s last appearances in a European final was in 2006, losing the Champions League showpiece against Barcelona. They have lost their past three major European finals (1995 Cup Winners Cup, 2000 UEFA Cup, 2006 Champions League).
- Valencia have won both of their two previous home games against Arsenal, beating them 1-0 in the 2000-01 Champions League quarter-final and 2-1 in the 2002-03 Champions League second group stage.
- Valencia were unbeaten in 20 home games in all competitions (won 15, drew five) – but then lost their most recent match at Mestalla Stadium, 1-0 to Eibar in La Liga on 28 April.
- Valencia’s Kevin Gameiro has been directly involved in 10 goals in his last 11 starts in home Europa League games, scoring nine and assisting one.
- Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette has scored eight goals in his last 10 Europa League knockout stage games.