Could Chelsea call upon 17-year-old striker Dominic Solanke to start against Arsenal?


Jose Mourinho has a bit of an injury crisis on his hands, as the injury bug has run roughshod over the Chelsea manager’s corps of veteran strikers, perhaps leaving the Portuguese boss without a single first-team striker for Saturday’s top-of-the-table Premier League clash with Arsenal (Watch live on NBCSN and online via Live Extra, 11 am ET).

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Diego Costa is still recovering from a hamstring injury suffered two games ago and only just returned to training this week, while Loic Remy missed last week’s victory over Manchester United with a calf strain and Didier Drogba picked up an injury after starting against Man United.

So, where does Mourinho turn ahead of the game that could all but guarantee Chelsea this year’s Premier League title (a Chelsea victory puts them 13 points ahead with five games to play)?

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Enter 17-year-old striker Dominic Solanke, a current youth team star for the Blues, who was on the bench for last weekend’s game against United and was then held out of the U-21 side’s game against Everton on Thursday night.

Solanke is also one of a handful of players some expect Mourinho to promote to the first team on a full-time basis next season. Upon bagging 19 goals for the youth team so far this season, Solanke was named England Men’s Youth Player of the Year for the 2014 calendar year and enjoyed a short training stint with England’s senior national team last month.

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The Reading, Berkshire native made his first-team debut — and only appearance to this point — back in October when he came on as a late substitute in Chelsea’s 6-0 thrashing of NK Maribor in the UEFA Champions League.

If Mourinho opts for experience over youth, his most likely starter at striker would probably be midfielder Cesc Fabregas, who in his time at Barcelona (2011 to 2014), frequently featured as a “false-nine,” withdrawn center forward.