Kante could miss six games through injury

Ruben Hill
October 12, 2017

Antonio Conte, the Chelsea manager, could be without two key players - N'Golo Kante and Alvaro Morata - for Saturday's league game against Crystal Palace.

One of football fans' main fears is that a key man will go away on global duty, only to come back injured.

The Blues are waiting to find out the extent of the hamstring problem Kante suffered on global duty with France, while Morata, who limped off with a similar problem in the defeat to Manchester City, won't be rushed back into action.

After winning the 2016/17 Premier League season at a canter, things have gone from bad to worse for Chelsea FC - missing out on several summer targets, and not being able to replace players departing Stamford Bridge. A 1-0 loss to title favourites Manchester City at Stamford Bridge prior to the global break leaves Chelsea six points behind City and their rivals Manchester United at the Premier League's summit.

That includes home and away clashes against Roma in the UEFA Champions League (on October 18 and 31, respectively) as well as Premier League matches with Crystal Palace, Watford and Bournemouth and a Carabao Cup fixture against Everton. Given his tenacity and ball retaining quality, the Blues are widely expected to struggle in the wake of the problem sustained. But PSG are looking to add steel to their midfield and with money no apparent object, Kante is top of their list after continuing the superb form he showed at Leicester City that attracted Chelsea initially. It is more likely Tiemoue Bakayoko and Cesc Fabregas will be deployed in midfield from the start, but defenders Andreas Christensen and David Luiz - back following suspension - are alternative options.

Ten days ago, Morata's hamstring injury was supposed to be very minor, but the doctors of the Spanish national team quickly shot down those hopes. If he proves his fitness by then, it's likely that Didier Deschamps would look to select Kante for his France squad for the following worldwide break, which again represents a risk that he would again sustain another injury.

Fortunately for Conte, he has strength in depth in the middle of the park following Danny Drinkwater's deadline day capture, though the England global is yet to feature for his new side on the back of his switch to Stamford Bridge.

Not only that, but their chances of making headway in the Champions League lessens considerably in Kante's absence. He's now being evaluated by Chelsea's medical staff, but reports earlier this week from France were expecting him to be out at least as long as Morata (2-3 weeks), if not longer (all of October and maybe a day or two extra).

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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