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Chelsea and the hamstring curse

Wednesday 18th October 2017
Suffering a defeat against Crystal Palace last weekend, Chelsea also had two key players missing. N'golo Kante and Alvaro Morata. But how much of a difference are the duo when they play in a Blues shirt? 

Kante suffered a hamstring injury on international duty for France. The midfielder is expected to be out until November which could be quite an important loss for Chelsea. We all know Kante's style of play and he always seems to play a vital role in winning performances. Totalling 385 passes this season, N'golo Kante has averaged 55 passes per match.

Defensively, a player like Kante is hard to come by. So far he has 16 interceptions, won 41 duels and made an impressive 27 tackles. He is very much a key element in Chelsea's success. Usually, a player that starts an attack due to his defensive duties and mentality on the pitch. Obviously, Chelsea needed Kante for the Crystal Palace game but realistically with the players that they did have available they should have put in a better performance at Selhurst Park.
The other missing character is, of course, Alvaro Morata. Scoring left, right and centre the Spaniard was up and running until he too suffered a hamstring injury. The striker was sidelined after his injury during Chelsea's 1-0 defeat to Manchester City in September. Morata has now rejoined the squad in training ahead of the Champions League game against Italian side, Roma but don't be surprised if he is rested for the fixture.

In his seven appearances this season, Morata has managed to score six goals. It should be nothing short of expected considering Chelsea did pay around £60 million for the ex-Real Madrid forward. He has definitely been a key influence while on the field, with his goals proving vital.

Another player that has fallen victim to the dreaded hamstring is Victor Moses. Injured during the Crystal Palace game, the loss of the Nigerian right-wing back will be another blow for Chelsea. Moses is expected to be out of action for at least a few weeks. These injuries are no doubt worrying Antonio Conte and Chelsea will begin to look desperate if they can't get these key players back to full fitness quickly.
With the absence of Alvaro Morata, Chelsea will be without their goal threating best but Conte may have him back for the Roma game. If not, he should be available for the Watford game on Saturday at least. Expecting to be back by November 5th, N'golo Kante should return in time for the game against Manchester United. It will be important that Chelsea has the Frenchman in time for this big fixture.

With Moses out for up to six weeks, he could be waiting until the end of November. Antonio Conte does have a replacement though in Davide Zappacosta. The wing-back has played already this season and impressed the boss when needed.

Relying on players isn't what Chelsea should be doing. If a player is out injured there shouldn't be a worry with the quality and depth of players that Chelsea possesses.

So why the same injuries all of a sudden at the Chelsea camp? It could be down to the training regime that Antonio Conte has got his squad using. Some drills may be overworking parts of players bodies. It could also be down to the fixture listings. Playing in Internationals, Champions League, Premier League and other cup matches is probably putting strains on many Chelsea players right now.

Conte may want to think about rotating his squad more often than normal in the process of this season. This method could surely help the squad as more players will be getting game time and players are less likely to be forced an injury from working too hard.
Jamie Kynaston

For my sins, I'm a season ticket holder at Stoke City, I have been proud to watch them for over 20 years. I follow most of the UK leagues and the major European ones too, and I've been told that I talk way too much about football.


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