“He wants to start” – Thomas Tuchel hints that Romelu Lukaku could make long-awaited return

Chelsea’s injury issues are still pretty bad, but we’ve seen Romelu Lukaku come off the bench in two games in a row now, and there’s a sense that he’s almost ready to start a first game for Chelsea since mid-October.

Thomas Tuchel was asked whether tomorrow would be the day for him, and of course the German coach refused to give a straight answer, as you’d expect.

“I will not tell you [if he starts]. He is in training, he is eager to start, he wants to start. It is difficult for Romelu and all the other guys after injuries to hit top level. We should try always to reach it,” the coach said in quotes picked up by Football.London.

We get the sense that the Belgium star probably will play from the start, probably for no more than an hour. Two games off the bench should be enough for him to get warmed up.

His physicality and aerial ability will be useful against West Ham in particular, and the other options to replace him (Timo Werner and Kai Havertz) don’t offer nearly as much in that regard.

We will find out at 11.30 tomorrow…