Mateo Kovačić, as was expected following his deadline day loan from Real Madrid, has quickly become an integral part of Maurizio Sarri’s first-choice lineups at Chelsea, even as he’s had to deal with a few fitness issues. Because of the World Cup and then his desire to move away from Madrid, the 24-year-old got a very late start on pre-season and he has yet to complete 90 minutes for his new club.
That trend continued on Saturday, but this time, the reason was a bit more unfortunate, as he had to leave the field of battle just five minutes into the second half. He had gotten crunched at least once in the first-half (uncalled by the referee) and he seemed to be favoring his right leg as he limped off (to be replaced by pre-season starter Ross Barkley).
Fortunately, it sounds like the injury, whatever it may be exactly, is not concerning. At least according to the initial diagnosis.
Sarri on Kovacic: 'I've spoken with the doctor and he has said it's nothing serious.'— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) September 15, 2018
That's all from the boss, but there will be plenty more online and in the Chelsea app a little later. #CHECAR pic.twitter.com/v1nkGrFvcs
Of course, as we saw with Fàbregas’s recent not concerning near-knee injury, such things can drag on much longer than originally anticipated. Fàbregas is only coming back now, after over a month out. Meanwhile, Ruben Loftus-Cheek is also out for the next couple weeks.
With a busy fixture list coming up, we can hardly afford any injuries, especially to key players. Hopefully Mateo will be back next weekend (we can probably make do without him in the PAOK game on Thursday; probably). That first goal for his new club surely isn’t too far away either.