It went almost unnoticed thanks to the historic occasion of a third consecutive 0-0 draw, but Chelsea lost captain Gary Cahill to injury in yesterday’s match as well, and while Antonio Conte sounded quite positive and hopeful about it in the post-match interview, these sorts of muscle injuries can nag and drag along for some time.
“I think he [Cahill] is with the doctor now, but it’s OK, I do not think it was serious. It was a muscular problem, but not serious. That is good news. I don’t know the time he needs to recover. The doctor said this.”
-Antonio Conte; source: Metro
The injury appeared to be Cahill’s right hamstring, which he seemed to overstretch while chasing down a long ball over the top and then trying to clear it back over his own head. He swung a leg but hit air only, which is never a good feeling, especially when the damage sustained is not just to the ego. Cahill sunk to the turf at the next stoppage in play (Rüdiger finished the clearance), but was quite quickly substituted. He did walk off under his own power, but was holding the right hamstring.
While Conte’s initial assessment sounds positive, it’s also quite similar to the initial assessment given on Morata’s hamstring, which kept the player out for three weeks (after Chelsea and Spain disagreed on the severity of it). More concerningly, Morata suffered a drastic drop in his goalscoring form ever since, though hopefully that’s his own unique situation that won’t extend to Cahill.
Chelsea do have cover for Cahill, with both David Luiz and Andreas Christensen able to play on either end of the defensive line not just the center, but we’re once again back down to just one covering player across three positions (two if we count in Ethan Ampadu), and that’s necessarily ideal.
Get well soon, EBGC!