Frank Lampard is sweating over the fitness of N’Golo Kante ahead of the Gameweek 3 fixture between Norwich City and Chelsea at Carrow Road.
Chelsea will be hoping to get their first win of the season when they go head-to-head with Norwich City at Carrow Road on Saturday. Frank Lampard though, could be without the services of a key player for his side’s next Premier League encounter.
N’Golo Kante is doubtful for Saturday’s fixture after struggling with an ankle sprain all through the week and the Chelsea boss said that he will take a late call on the Frenchman’s involvement. Lampard also provided an update on Antonio Rudiger, who featured in a Premier League 2 clash this week.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Lampard said, “N’Golo Kante has got an injury he has carried all week. We are going to assess that over the next 24 hours to see if he’s fit. It’s an ankle sprain. Rudiger is not fit yet, hopefully not next week.”
The Chelsea manager also added, “Those are the only changes from where we were last week. Pedro missed open training on Tuesday as he has contributed a lot physically during a busy week with three games, and had a couple of small aches. It was a precaution taking him out for a couple of days but he has trained the last two days.”
Judging by Lampard’s comments, Rudiger seems to be making good progress on his return from a knee injury. But, the game against Norwich has come too soon for the German international, which means Kurt Zouma will continue to partner Andreas Christensen at the heart of the Chelsea defence.
The backline should be completed by Cesar Azpilicueta and Emerson Palmieri, with Kepa Arrizabalaga taking his place in the Chelsea goal. In the middle of the park, with Kante being a doubt, it is likely that Jorginho will have Mateo Kovacic for company in the midfield double pivot, with Kante possibly being an option off the bench at best.
As far as the attack is concerned, Mason Mount seems to have nailed down a spot for himself in the side, at least till Ruben Loftus-Cheek returns. The Englishman has resumed light training, while Callum Hudson-Odoi is on the recovery trail as well, with Lampard providing an update on him in his pre-Norwich presser.
“Callum’s training, he’s looking bright and sharp, but we are in the zone where it’s about protecting him and getting condition and fitness, particularly with his injury. He’s had a quite a long time out. Same with Rudiger slightly. We have to be careful.”
Pedro seems to be fully fit, as per Lampard, and his promising form should ensure he keeps Willian out of the starting lineup. On the left side of the Chelsea attack, Christian Pulisic ought to start again as he continues to adapt to his new surroundings. Olivier Giroud is expected to lead the line for the Blues against Norwich, with Tammy Abraham being benched again.
Predicted Chelsea XI: Kepa; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Zouma, Emerson; Kovacic, Jorginho; Pedro, Mount, Pulisic; Giroud