Chelsea: No exact date for Pulisic return; Kante out
USMNT superstar Christian Pulisic remains out injured for Chelsea and his manager Frank Lampard has admitted the injury is a ‘difficult one’ to assess.
Slumping Chelsea host in-form Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday at Stamford Bridge (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) with the Blues in fourth place but just one point ahead of Spurs.
N’Golo Kante, who hobbled off in the 2-0 defeat to Man United on Monday, is out for three weeks but the most concerning news was about Pulisic as Lampard revealed he can’t give an exact date on when the USMNT star will be back after his adductor injury which saw him last play on Jan. 1.
“N’Golo is not fit. A muscle injury, the same as the one he came off with Arsenal with. Should be, hopefully, three weeks,” Lampard said. “Christian Pulisic is still not fit. At the moment I can’t give an exact date. Difficult injury, we are working with that. Ruben is in the squad but not fit to start. Andreas Christensen is fit. He went to get a mask for a broken nose.”
Tammy Abraham has trained the last two days at about ’70 percent’ while it is not expected that Callum Hudson-Odoi will be fit. The news on Kante is particularly damaging as he will miss the UEFA Champions League last 16 first leg against Bayern Munich as injures are piling up all over the pitch.
The good news for Chelsea? Ruben Loftus-Cheek will return to the squad this weekend after being out since May 12 when he injured his Achilles in a friendly against the New England Revolution in a friendly.
That is the only decent bit of injury news for Lampard’s young Chelsea squad.
Chelsea are still in fourth but have won just four of their last 14 games in the Premier League and with Spurs just one point behind them and United three points behind them, the chasing pack are closing in. Tottenham have plenty of injuries with Harry Kane and Heung-min Son out injured but Jose Mourinho knows this is a good time to play against his former club Chelsea.
Injuries to Abraham, Pulisic and Hudson-Odoi are tough as scoring goals has become an issue for the Blues in this poor run of form which stretches back to November.
All season long Chelsea have squandered goalscoring chances and even if the Champions League qualification goes down to fifth place due to Man City’s European ban, they may still miss out. They have been unlucky with injuries this season and missing Kante for a pivotal stretch of the season and the stop-start campaigns for Pulisic and Hudson-Odoi have been frustrating for Lampard.
“Whenever I speak to fans, and this season is a transitional year so we can’t please everybody, but what I’m getting is they’re recognising a team that wants to play,” Lampard said.
Injury news and a lack of goals aside, it is easy to forget this is a very young Chelsea side who have so far exceeded expectations.
A strong finish in the final 12 games of the season, starting with a win against bitter rivals Spurs, is exactly what the doctor ordered for Lampard and Co.