N’Golo Kante has picked up a fresh injury and will not be available for Chelsea when they take on Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Chelsea will be aiming to stretch their winning run to five games when they welcome Newcastle United to Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening. Frank Lampard, though, has been handed a major blow ahead of his side’s latest fixture.
There are no issues whatsoever in the goalkeeping department, with Kepa Arrizabalaga coming off unscathed from the international break. The Spaniard should, thus, take his place in between the sticks for Chelsea.
But, there is some bad news in the defensive department, with Andreas Christensen sustaining a hamstring injury while with the Danish national side. During his pre-match press conference, Lampard provided an update on Christensen as well as Antonio Rudiger, who has stepped up his recovery from a groin injury.
“Christensen has a hamstring injury which will see him out for probably the next two weeks. Rudiger is training outside with the physios which is a progression for him. He had a tough injury with some stop-start aspects to it which has been unfortunate for everybody but he’s outside now, which is positive.”
With Christensen and Rudiger both unavailable, Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori are the only recognised centre-backs at Lampard’s disposal, thereby making them automatic picks to partner up at the heart of the Chelsea defence. Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso will retain their places in the two full-back slots as well.
The aforementioned blow, meanwhile, comes in the form of N’Golo Kante, whose injury-riddled season has hit another setback. And, Lampard provided an update on the Frenchman, saying, “No, N’Golo is not fit. He had a small groin issue in the warm-up to the first international game for France, we didn’t get him back until after the second game and he’s not fit for Saturday.”
“It is not a laughing matter. We communicated with them”
Frank Lampard was not impressed with how France dealt with N’Golo Kante’s injury as the midfielder has been ruled out this weekend
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) October 18, 2019
The Chelsea boss did not hold back when criticising France head coach Didier Deschamps for poor communication over Kante’s injury. Lampard added, “After the first game when he pulled out, he then had a fitness test a day before the second game where it was clear that he couldn’t play but he then sat on the bench in the evening of the game so that’s not communication.”
But, there is some good news, with both Mateo Kovacic and Ross Barkley fit and available after shrugging off the minor injuries they sustained during the international break. The duo will vie for the place vacated by Kante, with Kovacic likely to get the nod to partner the resurgent Jorginho in the midfield double pivot.
The rest of the side ought to remain unchanged, particularly with Callum Hudson-Odoi and Willian impressing last time out against Southampton. Hudson-Odoi and Willian should start as the two wingers ahead of Christian Pulisic and Pedro, with Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham certain picks for the remaining two spots in the team.
Predicted Chelsea XI: Kepa; Azpilicueta, Zouma, Tomori, Alonso; Kovacic, Jorginho; Willian, Mount, Hudson-Odoi; Abraham