David Luiz left out of Chelsea squad after fresh injury blow
The Brazilian lost his place in Antonio Conte’s starting XI after a huge bust-up with his manager at the end of October, and then picked up a knee injury, though appeared to be regaining his trust more recently, making the last two league matchday squads.
Luiz has also played every minute of Chelsea’s FA Cup campaign so far, scoring from the spot in the penalty shootout replay win over Norwich City in the previous round.
But he will play no part against Newcastle at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, with Antonio Rudiger, Gary Cahill and Andreas Christensen all starting and teenager Ethan Ampadu on the bench.
Luiz posted a picture of himself in training on Friday alongside the message, ‘Keep working!’ – and in that very same session picked up a knock to his ankle that is not expected to keep him sidelined for very long.
Luiz has frequently been linked with a January transfer, with rumours in Spain suggesting Real Madrid had made contact with the Brazilian over a possible switch to the Bernabeu.
Elsewhere, Alvaro Morata has been given time off after the death of a close friend in a car accident, with Michy Batshuayi given another chance to show he still has a future at Chelsea in the Spaniard’s absence.
Cesc Fabregas also returns to the squad following his injury and could be called upon to unlock a strong Newcastle side, with former Blue boss Rafa Benitez naming close to his best possible XI.