Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has a number of injury concerns ahead of next weekend’s Premier League opener against Manchester United.
The biggest doubt is N’Golo Kante as he’s yet to feature in pre-season but there’s also a list of players in the treatment room at the club’s training base in Cobham, including: Willian, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James.
Chelsea may feel they’re well equipped to deal with Kante’s absence at the moment, with the likes of Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic both fit and playing a part in the pre-season tour, but neither are considered world-class like the Frenchman.
It was Kante who made the difference against United in Antonio Conte’s first season in charge at Stamford Bridge. He scored a great goal in the early season meet-up that put Chelsea into gear for a title win under the Italian coach.
There’s no way after playing no pre-season minutes and with the game just being a week away that Kante will be in line to start against United in the Premier League opener, which is a big blow to Lampard.
Things aren’t looking good for Chelsea and United must take advantage of that by getting the season off to a perfect start with three points in the bag.
Jorginho and Kovacic are likely to fill in for Kante and while neither quite cut the mustard like the former Leicester City man, central midfield is probably Chelsea’s strongest area on the pitch at the moment, so they’ll be no walkover.
Hopefully Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gets a chance to add to his central area, with Bruno Fernandes or another creative spark.