One of the more glaring issues in Saturday’s last-gasp victory over Crystal Palace was Chelsea’s porous midfield, and unfortunately we’re probably going to have to deal with that problem with a bit longer as N’Golo Kanté remains out with his hamstring issue.
The 31-year-old has been working hard on his rehab, but tomorrow’s Champions League group stage game against AC Milan still comes too soon for him. And the midfield situation also isn’t helped by Jorginho not being 100 per cent either, following his knock over the weekend. Head coach Graham Potter’s hoping others will step up in their absence.
“Jorgi felt a little discomfort in his abdominal area against Crystal Palace but has trained today, so we’ll see how he reacts to that and we’ll take a decision later today.”
“NG is training more and more. Not fully but getting closer. That is really positive. [...] It’s hard to replace someone like NG – he is a world-class player – and any team that loses him will suffer a little bit. But it’s up to other players to take the step up and find the solutions [...] even if there isn’t a direct replacement, there are other solutions in there so we have to find the right one.”
Kai Havertz is also dealing with a knock, but Édouard Mendy appears to be back and back in contention to start, though Potter wasn’t quite ready to give him the keys to the goal just yet in today’s press conference.
“Kai [Havertz] had a little feeling as well but he trained today [and] Eddie has trained with the team for the last few days so is making progress. So he will be in the squad which is great news for us because it’s important to have as much competition for places as we can. So it’s great to have him back.
“[But] I am in no rush to label anybody one or two. Firstly, I want to help Kepa enjoy his football and player at a really good level, which I think he did against Crystal Palace. Then I want to help Eddie get fit and ready to play, which he has done really well so far. Then we have two goalkeepers and in an ideal world, you let football decide. We have two goalkeepers we really believe in and that is a good situation for us.”
Has such a situation ever worked out in a “ideal” way for everybody? But it’s good that Potter’s opening the position up for competition; may the best goalkeeper win!
Speaking of winning, we could sure use a win tomorrow after taking just one point from our first two games in the group. It might not be a must-win mathematically, but it’s a must-win any-other-way-ally.
“That’s what we’ll try for and I think everyone will say the same thing [that it’s a ‘must-win’]. It’s important to win our home game and win if we can. But we are playing against a top opponent and we have to play well and create a good atmosphere to get our supporters behind us. That is our job and, as I said, we’re looking forward to it.”
-Graham Potter; source: Football.London
Do, or do not. There is no “can”.