According to multiple reports, including the Telegraph and the Guardian, Chelsea center back Gary Cahill had spent the last two nights in hospital with an unspecified illness.
Exclusive: Gary Cahill a doubt for FA Cup semi-final after spending two nights in hospital with mystery illness. https://t.co/F2sd7Byuse— Telegraph Football (@TeleFootball) April 20, 2017
The story goes that Cahill, who had reported to training feeling unwell on Tuesday when Chelsea reconvened after Sunday’s trip to Old Trafford, was admitted to hospital later that day after his “temperature rocketed” and was not released until today (Thursday). He now has just one day to train and figure out if he’ll be well enough and strong enough to play on Saturday.
According to the report, Chelsea do not believe that this is the same “stomach bug” that ruled Marcos Alonso out last Sunday and had also weakened both Diego Costa and Victor Moses. While that doesn’t help Cahill’s case, it does hopefully mean that whatever’s affecting them isn’t contagious.
If Cahill’s unable to go, Conte faces yet another tough lineup decision. He’s relied on Kurt Zouma the last two times in similar situations — both questionable decisions. Nathan Ake would be the like-for-like replacement (in terms of actual position) for Cahill, though John Terry is also (still) available.
In slightly better news, Thibaut Courtois seems to be progressing well and “optimism is growing” that he will be fit for Saturday. Cahill’s absence could however be a big blow.