Adding the literal injury to Monday night’s insult of a Premier League match was N’Golo Kanté going down with an apparent groin injury just ten minutes into what would eventually turn into a 2-0 home defeat for Chelsea. On the plus side — it isn’t much of a plus, to be fair — at least this one wasn’t caused by VAR incompetence.
After the game, head coach Frank Lampard confirmed the injury, adding that it’s not looking good even before the actual scans were done. Yeah, that’s definitely not good.
“It’s an adductor injury. It doesn’t look good, but he will have a scan.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Football.London
There was a time when N’Golo Kanté was practically indestructible, indefatigable, literally inconceivable. Over the past 9-12 months, he’s become all too human unfortunately.
This is now the fifth, maybe sixth injury since the end of last season for the man who used to be the team’s most irreplaceable player. We haven’t replaced him at all of course, but it’s hard to argue that he’s the same player he once was, even if we look beyond the fact that Ranieri and Conte got the best out of him in a midfield-two and both Sarri and Lampard have mostly used him in a midfield-three.
And the harsh reality of the situation might be (okay, probably is) that Kanté will never the same player he once was. At a month shy of his 29th birthday, he’s the oldest of Chelsea’s midfielders and he has a harder time staying healthy than a still developing Ruben Loftus-Cheek (RLC himself is still out with his Achilles tear, though that’s more of a freak occurrence than repeat muscle strains).
Groin strains have a nasty habit of lingering well beyond their initial timelines (see also: Christian Pulisic), and with Kanté missing arguably the most crucial part of Chelsea’s season now, he’s effectively out until next season. Perhaps he will return in a month or two, but will he even get a chance to make a tangible impact?
And you thought today couldn’t get any worse.