Chelsea will be without N’Golo Kante when they travel to Elland Road to take on Leeds United in the Premier League.
Chelsea will be aiming to bounce back to winning ways when they lock horns with Leeds United away from home at Elland Road on Sunday afternoon. Heading into the game, the Blues have been dealt a major blow as N’Golo Kante has been ruled out with a hamstring injury he picked up against Tottenham last weekend.
Kante joins fellow midfielder Mateo Kovacic on the sidelines, while young striker Armando Broja is also unavailable due to a niggle. There is some positive news for Chelsea, though, as Christian Pulisic is back in training and could be in contention to play some part against compatriot Jesse Marsch’s team on Sunday.
Providing a fitness update in his pre-match presser, manager Thomas Tuchel said: “We’re talking about weeks. It’s not good news. We are disappointed and sad because N’Golo was super important and super fit, and he will be out for several weeks. Armando is out for some days. He cannot come with us to Leeds. Mateo Kovacic is still out with knee problems. Christian Pulisic had Achilles problems but trained today.”
Tuchel could be forced into making one or two changes to the team that started against Spurs last time. Edouard Mendy is a guaranteed starter in goal, while both Kalidou Koulibaly and Thiago Silva should retain their spots in the backline. One change could, however, see Cesar Azpilicueta return to the lineup to complete the three-man defence.
The Chelsea captain’s return should allow Reece James to return to his favoured right-sided wing-back position against Leeds United. New signing Marc Cucurella started on the opposite flank last weekend and even registered an assist. But, Tuchel is likely to rotate in the position, handing Ben Chilwell a start at Elland Road.
Kante’s injury should see Ruben Loftus-Cheek getting the nod in the middle of the park after the academy graduate impressed in the game against Tottenham. The England international will have Jorginho as his partner in midfield, with Conor Gallagher an option from the bench for Chelsea.
Finally, moving into the attacking unit, no changes are expected as Tuchel should stick with the trident comprising Mason Mount, Kai Havertz and Raheem Sterling once again.
Chelsea Predicted XI: Mendy, Azpilicueta, Silva, Koulibaly, James, Loftus-Cheek, Jorginho, Chilwell, Mount, Havertz, Sterling.