Thomas Tuchel has confirmed a fresh injury blow for Chelsea as he admitted N’Golo Kante’s absence in Wednesday’s defeat was due to an injury.
Tuchel made quite a lot of changes in the derby defeat and certainly paid the price as the Blues suffered their only third defeat in all competitions under the new manager.
Despite dominating the possession of the ball in the game, Chelsea managed to create just two big chances and failed to convert any of them.
However, while the absences of a couple of key players were Tuchel’s decisions, it was not the case with Kante’s.
“N’Golo was [left out] for pain management,” Tuchel told Chelsea TV after the game.
“He has pain in the Achilles [tendon] and he suffers from that, so there was no chance [that he could play v Arsenal].
“We miss [Mateo] Kovacic, we didn’t have N’Golo on the bench. This is a huge blow for us in terms of intensity and attitude.
“For Toni, it was [due to] an overload and risks of injury. We already lost Andreas Christensen, so no chance I take this risk now to have two central defenders out.
“Same for Timo Werner.”
Given Kante’s recent crucial performances in the recent weeks, Tuchel was clearly not exaggerating when he described the midfielder’s injury as a big blow.
It remains unclear whether Kante or Kovacic will be able to make it in time for the FA Cup final this weekend, and at the moment, Tuchel does not have many options at his disposal.
Jorginho and Billy Gilmour started in midfield against Arsenal. While they are both very comfortable on the ball, neither really offers Kante’s energy nor Kovacic’s ability to drive with the ball.