In his pre-match press conference earlier today, Antonio Conte cast doubt on Gary Cahill’s availability for tomorrow’s showpiece FA Cup semifinal against Spurs at Wembley. Cahill, who came down with a bout of gastroenteritis on Tuesday, had missed two days of training and while he’s getting better, his participation on Saturday doesn’t sound likely at all.
“This period is not a lucky period for us. When we started training on Tuesday he arrived at the training ground with a bit of a fever, and our doctor preferred to bring him to the hospital and check his condition. It’s not a serious problem. Now Gary is getting better and is improving a lot.”
“If you ask me for tomorrow my answer is it’s very difficult, yes.”
Conte has a few options to replace Cahill. Nathan Aké would be perhaps the most logical, as he could slot in without changing any other position, but Conte has shown a distinct preference for young Kurt Zouma instead in recent weeks. One thing is for sure, it won’t be John Terry.
“This season we have tried to have two options in every position. I think the right position for John when we play with three central defenders is in the central position, in the place that David Luiz is now playing. I have to make the best decision for the starting XI tomorrow.”
-Antonio Conte; source: Chelsea FC
Chelsea had been very lucky all season with injuries, but last weekend both Courtois and Marcos Alonso were forced to miss the game, while Diego Costa and Victor Moses were weakened by illness as well. All four of those players should be back to more or less full health for tomorrow.
"The most important thing is [Courtois] recovered and he trained with us this week. This is the most important thing...”
Courtois’s injury came away from the pitch and the training ground as he and others were doing some promo work for the club, but Conte did not want to comment on recent rumors that he banned all promotional appearances for his squad because of that.
“...[when] I speak with my club the conversation is kept private. Commercial work is important to a club, it is very important. It is important always to have a good link and then have the best decision to improve.”
-Antonio Conte; source: Football.London
Either way, all eyes on Wembley now. A place in the final awaits.