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Chelsea could be without two key defensive players against Middlesbrough

Everton v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Chelsea’s remarkably excellent injury record this season has been increasingly under threat in recent weeks as the long season starts wearing on legs and knees and joints and ligaments ... and that’s before we get to tackles like the one from Sergio Aguero on David Luiz, which has meant that the Chelsea defender has spent over half the season nursing and having to manage a knee injury.

David Luiz has yet to miss a Premier League match due to said injury — he did get rested for three FA Cup games — but his attendance record is in jeopardy for Monday’s game thanks to a different problem altogether. Last weekend, he had to be withdrawn early due to an apparent groin injury, and as Antonio Conte revealed in his pre-match press conference, that situation remains concerned.

To make matters worse, that’s not the only worrying situation ahead of Middlesbrough’s visit.

“This week we are struggling with two situations, David and N’Golo, but there are three days before the game and I have time to make the best decisions about them. N’Golo has a little muscular problem with his thigh, not a great problem, so for this reason I must see the best way for him.”

-Antonio Conte; source: Chelsea FC

There are no obvious options to replace N’Golo Kanté in the squad (Matic-Chalobah/Fabregas midfield?) and while Nathan Ake would most likely deputize for David Luiz just as he did in the final ten minutes against Everton, it’s not quite clear exactly how he and Cahill would line up (i.e. who’s playing left and who’s playing the center?).

Fortunately we do have a couple more days to figure all that out or get the two key players healthy enough to play on Monday night. Conte also confirmed that Courtois will be good to go despite re-aggravating his ankle injury last weekend, so that’s one less worry on our minds.

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