N’Golo Kanté’s first start of the Premier League season was over after just 45 minutes, part of a massive triple blow suffered by Chelsea at half-time of last night’s 1-1 draw at Anfield: red card, penalty, and the injury.
And unfortunately, as confirmed by Thomas Tuchel after the game, Kanté’s injury is the same issue that he has been dealing with all season: the left ankle.
“He is injured, he had to go out. He missed the Arsenal game because of pain in his ankle and a little bit of inflammation, nothing serious because he was back in training and, as you could see, he started today.
“In winning the ball in this situation, the opponent fell on his ankle, twisted it again. He immediately had the same pain as before the Arsenal game when he missed it. He was lacking the force to accelerate and we had to take him off.”
Kanté picked up the injury initially in the warm-up ahead of the UEFA Super Cup, but pushed through to play
all half of the 120 minutes. He re-aggravated it in the following days during training, forcing him to miss our season opener against Crystal Palace. He was back fairly soon after however, and made a 15-minute substitute appearance against Arsenal. But soft tissue injuries are hard to truly kick and very easy to re-aggravate, and so here we are again.
On the plus side, we have two weeks before our next game, and hopefully Kanté will just stay at Cobham now instead of joining up with the France national team.
The injury could serve as a harsh reminder that we just might be able to use someone like Saúl Ñíguez this season — though Trevoh Chalobah performed well in his brief cameo at the end as a shutdown midfielder.
Before the match, Chelsea’s only other injury concern was Christian Pulisic, who has been isolating due to a positive COVID for the past week and a half. That means the young winger should be able to get back to playing — first with the US National Team, then with Chelsea. In his case, the international break comes at a great time, to get him some match fitness before the season resumes.
“Christian is released today so this is pretty much the explanation. He’s released from today and will go to the national team. If he can provide the negative test. Then he will go to the national team and hopefully play and get some minutes in his legs.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
Let’s hope both he and NG are ready to go in two weeks. It’s only going to get more intense from here!