The French midfielder’s persistent physical fitness problems this year have become a significant issue for the Blues, that are trying to hold on to the fourth spot.
Monday’s 2-0 defeat to Manchester United was damaging enough for Chelsea without visiting their harm issues worsen in front of their toughest run of fixtures all season.
Andreas Christensen broke his nose in a collision with Anthony Martial, N’Golo Kante suffered another setback with his adductor muscle and Callum Hudson-Odoi’s hamstring problem became evident prior to kick-off.
Additionally, there remain concerns about Tammy Abraham becoming over his painful ankle knock sustained against Arsenal a couple of weeks ago, while Christian Pulisic has been out for nearly two months.
Alongside this, Ruben Loftus-Cheek is still not ready to return after he tore his Achilles tendon in Chelsea’s post-season United States friendly.
There are hopes that Abraham may be fit for Saturday’s crunch top-four showdown with Tottenham but Frank Lampard talked of a”frustrating night on several levels” after seeing his side reversed by a combination of accidents, VAR and bad finishing in the disappointing home loss to United.
“I think he’s got a broken nose,” the Chelsea manager said of Christensen. “Callum for the weekend? No. Pulisic, no. Tammy is a maybe. It isn’t going our way at the moment on injuries. It’s frustrating.”
Particularly concerning is the event of Kante, that has been a shadow of his former self this year and is currently facing three weeks on the sidelines.
There are valid concerns within Chelsea he has long-term problems that need managing and the team are maybe now counting the cost of him playing at the 4-1 Europa League final win with an injury.
Maurizio Sarri’s parting gift to the club might be a legacy of harm to the club highest-paid and most respected participant in exchange for his first trophy as a manager.
Kante missed the whole of pre-season and is on his fourth different setback of this effort, after different hamstring, adductor and ankle injuries lately.
The France worldwide has been famous for many years for his remarkable endurance, together with the famous saying that”70 percent of the earth is covered by water, the rest is covered by Kante” summing up his apparently super-human status.
But he’s mortal. He’s missed as many games this year as all of his previous Premier League seasons put together.
Kante is not the sole player paying the price for playing through the pain last season. Antonio Rudiger had a long spell out with injury at the beginning of the present campaign, which also originated from Sarri with him while not entirely fit.
Beyond this, Reece James has suffered some setbacks since returning from loan and Pedro continues to get spells out using a slight recurring Achilles problem.
The bottom line is that after only 26 rounds, Chelsea have seen their players miss more games this year than the whole of last term.
On the other hand, Abraham and Hudson-Odoi will probably be back shortly and Christensen may play a mask in the coming weeks.
Pulisic, meanwhile, has been training with the under-23s, while Loftus-Cheek will play at least twice for the same side before being welcomed back to the first-team fold.
After having so few injury concerns under Sarri and Antonio Conte, Chelsea now seem to be breaking down in Lampard’s first season in charge.
The timing could not be worse, of course, given Lampard was not able to strengthen his squad last summer because of transfer ban and was left bitterly disappointed by the club’s inability to perform any bargains in January.
Lampard’s training procedures and high-energy style of play may be blamed for the lengthy injury list. There is also the fact that Chelsea are currently relying on so many kids who may not be accustomed to the physicality of top notch football.
However, sources say Conte’s training sessions remain the most extreme experienced among the players, while Lampard’s patterns are considered on exactly the same level as Sarri’s in terms of workload.
In any case, Chelsea can not blame injuries for their worsening form. They could be hurting now but the Blues have been commended for the work they’ve done behind the scenes keeping players injury-free.
Additionally, they have not been hit as hard as most of the top-six competitions this season. Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham have worse accident records total and while Leicester City have been let off lightly, their cause was aided significantly by the absence of European football.
Moreover, while this weekend’s competitions Spurs might not have too many players sidelined at the moment, they’ll arrive at Stamford Bridge with no two main forward, Harry Kane and Son Heung-min.
In that sense, Chelsea can’t complain. The harms are partly a heritage from last year’s desperate bid for Champions League soccer.
The thing is that the fall-out is making it more challenging for Lampard’s staff to replicate this accomplishment this time around.