Chelsea's 3-2 defeat against West Ham on Wednesday allowed the chasing pack to close to within just two points, making tomorrow’s Watford game an even more crucial affair.
Individual errors have proved very costly for Chelsea this season especially from the defensive standpoint. Thus, it's rather unfortunate that not only does center back Fikayo Tomori remain out, but he’s joined on the sidelines by midfield controller Mateo Kovačić, who’s been one of the team’s best players all season.
Kovačić made an early exit on Wednesday, which probably had something to do with the Achilles injury he picked up. While not nearly as drastic as the injuries to Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, which kept them out six months and a year, respectively, it sounds like Kovačić will be out for at least a couple games.
He is the first notable injury suffered by Chelsea during Project Restart, and we’ll probably see increased minutes for Jorginho and Billy Gilmour as a result.
“Fikayo is still not fit. He’s hopefully going to be training with us next week. He’s doing a lot of work, it’s just in terms of the last bit, getting him on the training pitch, it’s been tough.
“Kovacic is going to be out of this game. He hurt his Achilles in the West Ham game and we’ll miss him in this one and probably the next one, but hopefully he won’t be too long after that."
- Frank Lampard; source: Football.London
In unrelated squad news, Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner will not be joining up with the team just yet despite officially becoming Chelsea players on July 1. While Chelsea already have a training plan in place for the players, there are concerns over the various protocols necessary during these pandemic times. Fortunatley, there’s no rush since neither of them will be eligible to actually play for Chelsea until next season, which isn’t likely to begin until September.
“They haven’t arrived. As the whole country is waiting on quarantine news we’re also waiting on quarantine news, and we want to make sure the players can travel, move around and work as we’ll need them to.
"Timo Werner has only finished recently, so he’s having a well-deserved break and will come back later on in July. Ziyech will come here earlier than that, but we need to wait on the quarantine news before we can be clearer on that.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Football.London
All focus on Watford then.