Chelsea in race to get N’Golo Kante and Alvaro Morata fit ahead of Roma visit
Chelsea face an anxious 48 hours as they wait to find out the extent of N’Golo Kanté’s hamstring injury he suffered on international duty with France, while club doctors work to try to get Álvaro Morata fit in time for the Champions League clash against Roma.
Although Morata had indicated he could be ready for the Premier League trip to Crystal Palace on Saturday, Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte is unlikely to take any chances over the striker’s fitness ahead of the visit of Roma to Stamford Bridge next Wednesday.
The Spanish Football Federation last week sparked fears that Morata could miss up to six weeks after revealing he had suffered a grade two hamstring injury in Chelsea’s defeat to Manchester City.
But Chelsea doctors do not believe Morata’s problem is as serious as first feared and are working to try to have him fit to face Roma, with the club hoping to win Group C of the Champions League.
Chelsea are currently top, two points ahead of second-placed Roma, following victories over Qarabag and Atlético Madrid.
Conte could play Michy Batshuayi or field a front three of Eden Hazard, Willian and Pedro at Crystal Palace, but will want top scorer Morata back to spear-head his attack against Roma.
Midfielder Kanté was forced off with a hamstring injury in the 34th minute of France’s victory over Bulgaria on Saturday night and is only due to return to Chelsea early this week.
Last season’s Player of the Year will now be assessed before Chelsea put any timescale on his return, but any significant absence will be a big blow for Conte.
Chelsea expect to have a better idea of Kanté’s exact injury by Wednesday, but it is unlikely they will make any announcement on it ahead of Conte’s scheduled Friday press conference.
Kanté has been nominated among the 30 nominees for this year’s Ballon d’Or, which underlines his importance to Chelsea.
Conte has Tiémoué Bakayoko and Cesc Fàbregas fit for Saturday’s game against Palace, while transfer deadline day signing Danny Drinkwater is close to full fitness following a calf injury.
Drinkwater is yet to make his Chelsea debut, but could be on the substitutes’ bench at Selhurst Park and will most likely start the Carabao Cup clash against Everton on Oct 25.