Chelsea suffered a big blow at the weekend as N’Golo Kante limped off during their win over Watford at Stamford Bridge.
The 28-year-old has once again been a fundamental figure for the Blues this year, making 51 appearances in all competitions having established himself as a key part of Maurizio Sarri’s plans.
Kante has also added five goals and four assists to his tireless defensive work, and so there are no doubts over just how important he is to this Chelsea side.
With the second leg of their Europa League semi-final tie with Eintracht Frankfurt coming up as well as a potential place in the Final, Chelsea can ill-afford to lose any of their key figures at such a crucial stage of the campaign.
As noted by Sky Sports, Sarri conceded after the game that he perhaps made a mistake in playing Kante which left him open to the threat of picking up an injury when he could arguably have done with a rest.
However, he has now also added that he expects the French international to sit out the games against Frankfurt and Leicester City, although fortunately the latter now takes on lesser importance given that they’ve secured a top-four finish.
As per freelance injury analyst Ben Dinnery’s tweet below, Sarri has conceded that the race is now on for Kante to recover in time for the Europa League final, should Chelsea make it to Baku by seeing off Frankfurt after the first leg ended 1-1 in Germany.
Time will tell if Kante can make it back in time for what could potentially be the last game of the season in Europe, as should Chelsea qualify to face either Arsenal or Valencia in the Final, they will desperately need their influential midfield star to have the best possible chance of landing silverware this season.
Kante could miss the next two. "The problem is with his hamstring. I think I made a mistake, probably he had to rest. It’s very difficult to recover for [Frankfurt + Leicester]. We want to play the final, so he’s lucky, and we have to try to recover him for the in case." #CFC pic.twitter.com/HLrz8Wprpp
— Ben Dinnery (@BenDinnery) May 6, 2019