It was a huge blow on Monday night for manager Frank Lampard and Chelsea fans when French midfielder N’Golo Kante pulled up injured and needed to be replaced after just ten minutes on the pitch. With his influence needed on Monday night there is now the question of will he be fit for Saturday’s early kick off with rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
Kante is a vital cog in the machine for Chelsea and his presence has been felt ever since he arrived from Leicester City in 2016 and helped Chelsea to the league title in his first season. However, injuries have hampered the former Caen man and he has been restricted to just 16 starts in the league this season which has contributed to Chelsea’s sketchy form.
The hard-working central midfielder, at the moment, is irreplaceable and it was evident on Monday night against Manchester United. Mason Mount was his replacement, but he is a totally different player to Kante. Admittedly he managed to offer a press but there is no effortless tracking back that you see from Kante. Effectively, the other central midfielder Mateo Kovacic was trying to do two roles; his own and replacing Kante as Mount pushed forward to offer a higher press.
Chelsea’s form is not impressive at the business end of the season and they have only managed one league win since the turn of the year and they need all their players fit and available after struggling to reinforce in the January transfer window.
However, it does not look like Kante will be fit for the vital clash with Tottenham. Reports coming out of France are suggesting that he is expected to be out for three weeks with a grade two groin tear. This news, if true, could be detrimental to how Chelsea play on Saturday.
The energy that Kante brings to the side could combat the centre of midfield of Tottenham and allow his attacking teammates to punish a Spurs side who are leaking goals at the moment.
If the reports are to be believed than the injury will keep him out of more than just the London derby. It will keep him out of the league and FA Cup ties with Liverpool and more than likely both legs of the Champions League against German giants Bayern Munich.
It seems the manager is quite pessimistic about the injury to one of his key men and will more than likely be preparing his squad to play without the enigmatic Frenchman. He admitted after the Manchester United game that things did not look great so he has had all week to figure out his best eleven without Kante.
It will be interesting to see how Lampard will set up now and who will occupy the midfield three but you know for certain it will not be as affective as a midfield with N’Golo Kante in there.