In the wake of Saturday’s 3-2 loss to West Ham and the impending Champions League trip to Zenit this mid-week, Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has provided more concerning injury updates on several key players.
Chelsea were six points clear at the top of the table only a few weeks ago but are now third, behind Manchester City and Liverpool.
The race for the premier league title is on and Chelsea must now cast eyes on what is in the future for them.
The Blues will travel to Russia on Wednesday to face Zenit for their final game of the UEFA Champions League Group Stage before clashing with Leeds United at the weekend.
Tuchel will ideally be able to rest a few players in midweek while still achieving a positive result in their final Champions League group match.
Given the number of injuries Chelsea is currently dealing with, squad rotation will be critical ahead of the festive fixtures.
Thomas Tuchel gave update via the club’s website that three players who started against West Ham are now in pain.
“Kai [Havertz] has huge pain, Marcos Alonso has back pain, so it’s another two substitutes due to injury,” the German explained.
“I have no idea when N’Golo Kante will be back, and we’re missing also Mateo Kovacic for five or six weeks.
“Also, Jorginho is playing with a little pain for many days, and you can see it.”
Havertz, who was forced to be replaced by Romelu Lukaku at halftime, escaped with only a minor injury after colliding with former Chelsea teammate Kurt Zouma.
Ben Chilwell also is still out injured with no return date in talks from the Chelsea boss.
The most concerning aspect of the injury updates, however, was Tuchel’s uncertainty about Kante’s potential return date.
It would be recalled that Tuchel initially expected the France international to be out for not more than a week after twisting his knee against Juventus few weeks ago.
Chelsea will now have to wait to find out when Kante will be back. Hopefully, it won’t be a long one.