Date: 15th December 2021 at 3:00pm
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The next month will be imperative for a number of teams at both ends of the Premier League table, few more so than Chelsea. 

After leading the pack a fortnight ago, Thomas Tuchel’s side have slipped to third after draws against Burnley and Manchester United, and a shock defeat to West Ham United at the London Stadium.

While the Blues got back to winning ways against struggling Leeds United on Saturday, they now face a hectic festive and new year schedule which includes games against Liverpool and Manchester City.

One issue that has coincided with, and perhaps catalysed, the Blues’ recent problems has been the number of injuries sustained by their midfielders.

Mateo Kovacic has now been out for several weeks, while N’Golo Kante has also struggled to maintain his fitness this season.

With Jorginho out, Tuchel was forced to select Saul Niguez and Ruben Loftus-Cheek in the middle of the park against Watford last month.

The Spaniard has struggled hugely in adapting to English football and, while Loftus-Cheek has impressed this season, he has excelled more when partnered with the experienced Jorginho.

Ross Barkley is the Blues’ other central midfield option and the Englishman has impressed on occasion this term, however he appears not to be the long-term solution to Tuchel’s problems.

Gallagher’s brace against Everton was his second double of the season

Ironically, Chelsea loanee Conor Gallagher has been arguably the best midfielder in the Premier League this season.

The youngster has scored six goals and provided three assists in 15 league games so far this term, having only missed the Eagles’ match against parent club Chelsea.

The former Swansea loanee has been one of the standout performers in the league so far this term, and made his England debut last month.

With Chelsea’s midfield problems showing no signs of going away, several fans had called on the club to recall Gallagher in the January transfer window, however it now appears that it may not be possible.

According to The Athletic, Chelsea will be unable to recall the 21-year-old from Selhurst Park due to a clause inserted into the midfielder’s loan agreement.

As part of the deal, it was agreed that Gallagher would not be able to be recalled if he made a certain amount of appearances for the Eagles, reportedly 50% of the club’s league fixtures.

As he has appeared in all but one of their games so far, it appears that the former Charlton loanee will remain at Palace for the remainder of the campaign.

It is also suggested that Chelsea have a similar issue with Billy Gilmour, who is currently on loan at Norwich City but won’t be returning to Stamford Bridge anytime soon.

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