Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Reece James left out of Chelsea squad for home clash against struggling Southampton

Reece James Chelsea 2022-23
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Reece James have both been left out of Chelsea's squad to face bottom club Southampton on Saturday.
  • James given rest
  • Aubameyang frozen out
  • Blues in need of win

WHAT HAPPENED? As reported by The Athletic, James has been given the weekend off as the club's medical staff look to manage his workload after his return from injury. A fully-fit Aubameyang, by contrast, has once again - according to the Daily Mirror - been left out, despite encouraging words from manager Graham Potter during Friday's press conference that hinted at a possible return for the striker.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Chelsea are keen to manage James' return from injury carefully. The right-back initially injured his knee in October, causing him to miss out on the World Cup. A December return caused a recurrence, so the club have wisely given James the week off after an intense period of two full 90 minutes against West Ham and Borussia Dortmund.

AND WHAT'S MORE: Aubameyang's absence continues to cause mystery, with the striker left out once more despite Potter's insistence that there were no issues regarding the his attitude or professionalism. Chelsea's struggle for goals and lack of a natural centre-forward has increasingly drawn focus on the former Arsenal and Barcelona's man's situation.

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Reece James Chelsea Dortmund Champions League 2022-23

Aubameyang of Chelsea.

Graham Potter Chelsea 2022-23

WHAT NEXT FOR CHELSEA? Chelsea and under-pressure Potter are in need of a win and have a great opportunity to take three points and ease their goalscoring problems against manager-less Southampton at Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon.