Chelsea have a two-goal advantage heading into their Champions League clash against FC Porto –but look as if they will have to take on the Portuguese side without the service of Mateo Kovacic.
The Chelsea squad looked pumped and ready for their Champions League Quarter Final second-leg tie when they were pictured training in Sevilla.
Thomas Tuchel will be gutted to be one shy of a fully-fit squad following the training injury sustained by Mateo Kovacic.
They are full of confidence after back-to-back wins across all competitions, displaying the West Brom 5-2 loss at Stamford Bridge was a wake-up call for all in blue.
A major key in their return to winning ways has been the Croatian. Since the German took over from Lampard, the midfielder has been a consistent presence and a regular starter.
Of the games under Tuchel, Kovacic has only missed three starts to date. This does display it is a massive blow for the manager and also the importance of Kovacic.
There has also been no further news regarding how serious the injury is and if he will be out for the weekend’s FA Cup action.
It could be a precaution for the domestic cup semi-final – but not to fear N’Golo Kante is here.
N’Golo Kante will slot in for Mateo Kovacic in the Chelsea starting XI seamlessly
Like the rest of the team, established starters and players on the fringe, N’Golo Kante has upped his game and has been a well-used squad member for the West Londoners.
In any case or scenario, what manager would hesitate to use a player of Kante’s world-class quality to fill in for another player? In no case or scenario.
The only area where Kovacic reigns supreme over Kante is his inch-perfect passes that cut defensive lines open. Apart from that, Kante makes up with his engine and his ability to snuff any danger.
So in retrospect, a certain element will be taken out with his absence but another element will be added with the inclusion of N’Golo Kante.
Chelsea must not underestimate their opponents FC Porto
The lead is 2-0 in Chelsea’s favour but it is only halftime for the pair of Champions League quarter-finalists – the Blues must not look at this challenge as over.
Porto managed to score four goals past a Juventus side defensively strong. The Blues have proven to be one of the best defensive sides across Europe. They’ve only conceded eight goals in 17 games under Thomas Tuchel.
So with their mighty defensive record plus their recent surge in attack, a lot stands in their favour to go through to the semi-finals of the UCL and be the first English side to do so this season.