Chelsea head into tomorrow night’s League Cup semifinal first leg at Wembley still well below full fitness, as Ruben Loftus-Cheek joins Willian, Pedro, and Olivier Giroud in the treatment room, while Mateo Kovačić continues to be suffering from an unspecified illness. While only RLC and Willian have been ruled at this point, assistant to the head coach Carlo Cudicini, taking media duties for Sarri and Zola this weekend, was only truly optimistic about Kovačić's return.
“It’s difficult to say because we have a few players recovering from injuries. A few today were struggling. We will assess the situation and then have an idea on who will play. We need to have in mind the few problems we have.
”Mateo is sick, not injured. So hopefully he is one who will be back. We will assess the others.”
-Carlo Cudicini; source: Goal
In addition to the injuries, Cesc Fàbregas looks to have played his final match for Chelsea, and even if his transfer to AS Monaco won’t be finalized for a few more days, he’s already had his lap of honor at Stamford Bridge and given his farewell speech in the dressing room.
Likely joining him on the way out are Gary Cahill, Danny Drinkwater, and Victor Moses, although the latter made a surprise appearance on the bench on Saturday.
While Sarri was able to rest and rotate a few key players over the weekend, Chelsea have Tottenham (twice), Arsenal, and Manchester City coming up in the next month or so, and will need all hands to the pump to stay in the top four and, almost just as importantly, get past Spurs to reach the final of the League Cup.
Tuesday is just the first leg, but many a tie has been lost (and sometimes even won) after just the away leg.