What Ben Chilwell loss to injury could mean for Chelsea boss Lampard after break

Chelsea left-back Ben Chilwell has handed Frank Lampard a fresh injury worry ahead of Saturday's Premier league trip to Newcastle.

Chilwell made his first competitive England in almost a year in Sunday's Nations League clash against Belgium, but was replaced by Arsenal's Bukayo Saka after 38 minutes.

The 23-year-old appeared to be holding his back as he left the field during the Three Lions' 2-0 defeat, and will now be a doubt for Chelsea's visit to St James' Park.

If Chilwell is ruled out it will be a big blow to Lampard, who will miss his attacking impetus from the left of a defence which has kept five clean sheets in their last six games.

Here, Daily Star Sport looks at the options facing the manager if his £50million summer signing has to sit out Saturday's match.

Marcos Alonso

Alonso started the season as the man in the shirt at left-back, with Chilwell missing Chelsea's opening games due to a foot injury.

However, the Spanish defender hasn't featured since having a bust-up with Lampard after he was withdrawn at half-time during Chelsea's 3-3 draw at West Brom.

Alonso had been at fault for two of the Baggies' goals as the promoted side raced into a shock 3-0 lead by half-time, and was replaced by Cesar Azpilicueta for the second period.

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He has only been named in a matchday squad once since then – spending the duration of the 3-0 win over Rennes on the bench.

If Chilwell is out of Saturday's game and Alonso doesn't get the nod, then it looks to be a long way back for the 29-year-old.

Emerson Palmieri

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Emerson was linked with interest from Inter Milan over the summer, as was Alonso. But both players stayed at Stamford Bridge, and Emerson would appear to be next in line for the left-back berth if Alonso's exile continues.

The Italy international is yet to feature in a Premier League game for Chelsea this season – although he has played in Champions League and Carabao Cup games, suggesting that Lampard views him as the first-choice back-up for Chilwell.

If Chilwell is ruled out on Saturday, Emerson could well be in line for his first Premier League game of the season.

Cesar Azpilicueta

Lampard could again trust in Azpilicueta's versatility after turning to the club stalwart during the shocker at the Hawthorns.

Azpilicueta can play anywhere across the back, and Lampard can afford to utilise the 31-year-old at left-back with Reece James continuing to blossom on the opposite side of the defence.

James has started four of Chelsea's last five games – albeit he played in midfield against Manchester United – and has even chipped in with a goal and a couple of assists.

Change formation

Lampard could opt to switch to a back three in Chilwell's absence.

Azpilicueta would be the obvious option to join Thiago Silva and Kurt Zouma in a three-man defence, although the manager could also give game time to Andreas Christensen, Fikayo Tomori or the out-of-favour Antonio Rudiger.

Reece James would play at right wing-back, while Callum Hudson-Odoi could be the man to get the nod on the opposite flank.

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