Thibaut Courtois is likely to be back between the posts for Chelsea as they go up against Tottenham in the semi-finals of the FA Cup at Wembley on Saturday.
Chelsea’s steady season has been rocked recently, with defeats to Crystal Palace and Manchester United in the Premier League shrinking the gap between themselves and Tottenham. And now, they face their title rivals in the semi-finals of the FA Cup.
It’s not just a spot in the finals of the FA Cup that is at stake on Saturday at Wembley, but also the mental fortitude and momentum going into the crunch stage of the Premier League title race. Chelsea would be wary of Tottenham’s threat and Antonio Conte would hope his side can pull through on Saturday.
There is one positive news on the injuries front for the Italian, with Thibaut Courtois returning to training. The Belgian is likely to back between the sticks for the Saturday fixture, which will be a huge boost, especially with Gary Cahill struggling to make it in time.
Antonio Conte provided update on Cahill’s injury in the pre-match conference, stating that the player is a serious doubt for the tie as he continues to be assessed by the doctors.
Nathan Ake will start for Chelsea in their FA Cup semi-final with Tottenham tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/nFnBXJzPFg
— Dutch Football (@Foot_Oranje) April 21, 2017
“When we started training on Tuesday he [Cahill] arrived at the training ground with a bit of a fever, and our doctor preferred to bring him to the hospital and check his condition. It’s not a serious problem. Now Gary is getting better and is improving a lot. If you ask me for tomorrow my answer is it’s very difficult, yes.”
However, when Conte was asked whether John Terry could replace Cahill at the back, the Italian seemed dismissive of the thought, stating that Terry is suited to playing in the centre of a 3-man defence, which is already occupied by David Luiz.
“I think the right position for John when we play with three central defenders is in the central position, in the place that David Luiz is now playing. I have to make the best decision for the starting XI tomorrow.”
Chelsea also have doubts over the availability of Marcos Alonso, Diego Costa and Victor Moses for the FA Cup semi-finals while Tottenham have Danny Rose, Erik Lamela and Harry Winks injured for the tie.
The onus will be on Tottenham at Wembley and a win for Pochettino’s side may just blow open the title race, despite the tie not having a statistical effect on the Premier League title race.