Thomas Tuchel has departed from his usual 3-4-2-1 system as his Chelsea charges make one last push before a week off with today’s Premier League clash with Tottenham.
Sunday’s game at Stamford Bridge will be their 15th match of a marathon stretch since the start of December before the Premier League winter break.
The Blues are next in action against Plymouth in the FA Cup on February 5 and they then go off to the Club World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.
Both players have been out in recent weeks with hamstring problems, which has stretched Thomas Tuchel’s squad to the limit during their punishing schedule.
Tuchel is again without Andreas Christensen for the Spurs game, while he continues to recover from a back injury.
The Chelsea manager refused to give too much away regarding James’ schedule when speaking on Friday, but admitted: “We have a time frame but we will not make it public because otherwise we will just get asked about the timescale.
“He is back on the pitch, that’s the good news. But he’s still in individual training, so far away from being part of the squad on Sunday’s game.”
On Christensen, Tuchel added: “He is not with the team yet. We hope he is back in training next week.”
Chelsea XI: Kepa; Azpilicueta, Silva, Rudiger, Sarr; Kovacic, Jorginho; Ziyech, Mount, Hudson-Odoi; Lukaku.
Subs: Bettinelli, Chalobah, Alonso, Kante, Barkley, Saul, Havertz, Pulisic, Werner.