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Team News: Chelsea to take on Leicester without this key first-team star

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N'Golo Kante is back in Chelsea training

Chelsea star N’Golo Kante ruled out of Leicester City tie

According to Football.london, Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has revealed that N’Golo Kante will not be part of the squad that takes on Leicester City.

The Blues got back to winning ways in the Premier League with a 1-0 victory over Fulham at the weekend. The trip to the King Power Stadium is set to present more of a challenge.

Brendan Rodgers’s side has quietly stayed in the title race and could temporarily go top if results go their way. Chelsea are still some way off but could take a giant leap if they come away with all three points. However, they will have to do so without the help of Kante.

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has revealed that N'Golo Kante will not be part of the squad that takes on Leicester City.
Chelsea to take on Leicester City sans N’Golo Kante

Kante also missed out last two games in all competitions. He was suspended for the game against Fulham and is also nursing a hamstring injury. The latter saw him sit out of the FA Cup clash against Morecambe.

The Frenchman is back in training at Cobham. However, it would appear that the game against Leicester has come too soon.

“Christensen is available but N’Golo isn’t. It’s a bit too soon for his hamstring. Those are the only two who will miss the game.”

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has revealed that N'Golo Kante will not be part of the squad that takes on Leicester City.
Kante is still nursing a hamstring injury (Getty Images)

The 29-year-old has made 24 appearances for the club this season. With the likes of Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho having their ups and downs, Kante’s presence has been much-needed in midfield.

A player for the big games, he will be missed against the Foxes. Rodgers’ midfield of Youri Tielemans, James Maddison and Wilfred Ndidi is a formidable trio and will get stuck in from the word go.

The onus will now be on Lampard to ensure we win the midfield battle on the night.

Kante played a key role in Leicester’s 2015/16 PL title run

Right-back Reece James could make his return for Chelsea on the night. The 21-year-old missed our last three matches with a hamstring problem and was an unused substitute in the win at Craven Cottage.

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Then a relative unknown, Kante joined Leicester from Caen in 2015. He went on to play a major role in the Foxes’ unlikely title run. This brought him to the notice of the big boys and he moved to Chelsea a year later.

It is fair to say that five years on, he remains a key player for the Blues.

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Chelsea to target solid Atletico star to bolster Tuchel’s backline

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Chelsea to target Jose Maria Gimenez in the summer

According to The Athletic, Chelsea are set to target Jose Maria Gimenez from Atletico Madrid this summer. The Uruguayan is among a three-man wishlist that also includes Niklas Sule of Bayern Munich and Ibrahima Konate of RB Leipzig.

Chelsea don’t necessarily need another central defender right now. The club already have a strong contingent from which Thomas Tuchel has used the likes of Thiago Silva, Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta.

Kurt Zouma has had to wait for his chances while Fikayo Tomori was allowed to leave for AC Milan on loan.

LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 31: (L – R) Timo Werner, Thiago Silva, Cesar Azpilicueta and Antonio Rudiger of Chelsea prepare for a corner kick during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Burnley at Stamford Bridge on January 31, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

While Silva has had a great impact since arriving last summer, he will be 37 years old by the time the next season rolls on. Even Cesar Azpilicueta will need replacing at some point due to his age. That makes a good case for adding another solid centre-back to the side.

It’s not hard to see why Gimenez is among the names being considered by Chelsea. He is one of Diego Simeone’s trusted lieutenants, who plays a big part in their highly astute defensive structure. A no-nonsense defender, Gimenez is not someone who shies away from challenges.

Jose Maria Gimenez is set to miss the Champions League clash against Chelsea due to injury. (GETTY Images)
Jose Maria Gimenez is set to miss the Champions League clash against Chelsea due to injury. (GETTY Images)

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However, prising away the defender will not be any easy given how important he is for Atleti. Chelsea might just need to shell out the big bucks if they are to change Simeone’s mind. On the up, Gimenez could be a good fit for Chelsea and bring some leadership into the backline.

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Thomas Tuchel heard shouting at Timo Werner during the 2-0 win vs Everton

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Thomas Tuchel shouts at Timo Werner during the game

Thomas Tuchel was heard shouting at Timo Werner during the Chelsea vs Everton game because of his positioning (h/t Daily Mail). The microphones picked up Tuchel’s loud instructions to Werner on his positioning.

Chelsea had no problems in getting past Everton with a 2-0 win, courtesy of a Ben Godfrey own goal and Jorginho penalty. The hosts were hardly troubled by Ancelotti’s men as they gathered another 3 points in the race for top-four.

Liverpool v Chelsea – Premier League – Anfield Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel reacts on the touchline during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool. Picture date: Thursday March 4, 2021.

However, ahead of scoring their first goal, Thomas Tuchel was heard shouting at Timo Werner for his positioning. The German duo were talking in their native language but rough translations revealed that Tuchel was pointing out that Werner was playing on the left. Whereas he was supposed to be playing on the right.

‘Timo, how long are you staying on the left? You’re playing on the right! The last 15 mins you’ve only been on the left! Don’t you understand?’

The Blues put the tactical tweaks to good effect as they scored soon after. Kai Havertz’s shot was deflected into the goal by Ben Godfrey as Chelsea went into the break at 1-0. All the shouting aside, Werner actually had a decent game with some efforts on goal, which were saved by Pickford.

Timo Werner has the trust of his Chelsea manager, Thomas Tuchel. (GETTY Images)
Timo Werner has the trust of his Chelsea manager, Thomas Tuchel. (GETTY Images)

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Tuchel greeted Werner with a handshake when the latter was substituted. Werner is slowly looking back to his best and now only needs the goals to back it up. The shouts from Tuchel didn’t really seem to be an issue as it looked like something in the heat of the moment.

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“I don’t agree” – PL boss insists Chelsea target is worth more than £100m

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David Moyes speaks out on Declan Rice amidst Chelsea interest

According to Sky Sports, David Moyes insists that Chelsea linked Declan Rice is far more valuable than £100m. It had been said earlier that West Ham co-owner David Sullivan values the prized asset around a similar mark.

Rice has been a target for the Blues since the start of this season and it was said that then manager Frank Lampard was especially keen on bringing Rice back to Chelsea, where he was once an academy player.

Declan Rice and Mason Mount were together at Chelsea
Declan Rice and Mason Mount were together at Chelsea during the academy days

However, after Lampard’s sacking, it was expected that interest in Rice would drop from the Blues since Lampard was one of the main people who wanted to sign him. It even caused disagreements between Lampard and the board.

Nonetheless, David Moyes claimed that the English man is way more than £100m as valued by Sullivan.

“I don’t agree with the owners that Declan Rice is a £100m footballer. Far, far more than £100m. Far, far more. I look at the players who have joined some clubs from overseas and come in and nowhere near had the impact Declan Rice would have.

I certainly wouldn’t put a price on it. You can decide which figure you want to put on it but I wouldn’t be sanctioning anything like that, that’s for sure.”

Chelsea target Declan Rice in action for West Ham United. (GETTY Images)
Chelsea target Declan Rice in action for West Ham United. (GETTY Images)

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Now with Thomas Tuchel at the helm, as expected, interest in the West Ham midfielder has mellowed down a bit. The club are likely to push for other targets, which does not include Rice. Also with £100m or more being asked, Chelsea might just think twice before going for him.

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A View From The Bridge

Chelsea receive a boost in the race for talented young Bundesliga starlet

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Chelsea receive a boost to sign Ibrahima Konate

According to Christian Falk of BILD (h/t chelseafc.com), Chelsea have received a boost in their pursuit of Ibrahima Konate. The Blues are said to be ahead of others because of Thomas Tuchel’s assistant Zsolt Low, who has a prior association with the Leipzig defender.

It’s not that Chelsea overly require a new central defender. The club already boast of a strong contingent from which Thomas Tuchel has used the likes of Thiago Silva, Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta. We sent Fikayo Tomori on loan as well as having Kurt Zouma on the side.

While Silva has had a great impact since arriving last summer, he will be 37 years old by the time the next season rolls on. Even Cesar Azpilicueta will need replacing at some point due to his age. So adding another elite centre-back would serve the club well.

LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 31: (L – R) Timo Werner, Thiago Silva, Cesar Azpilicueta and Antonio Rudiger of Chelsea prepare for a corner kick during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Burnley at Stamford Bridge on January 31, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

The 21-year-old Konate has been with Leipzig since 2017, having joined from boyhood club FC Sochaux. During his time at the Saxony-based outfit, Konate has grown into a promising young centre-back with loads of potential.

It is now believed that Zsolt Low, who is Tuchel’s assistant, could help Chelsea in their bid to convince Konate to move to the Bridge. Low worked with the youngster when he was the assistant manager under Ralf Rangnick and Ralph Hasenhuttl at Leipzig. Falk spoke about the connection between Konate and Low.

SINSHEIM, GERMANY – DECEMBER 16: Ibrahima Konate of RB Leipzig in action during the Bundesliga match between TSG Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig at PreZero-Arena on December 16, 2020 in Sinsheim, Germany. (Photo by Christian Kaspar-Bartke/Getty Images)

‘The focus is very much on Konate in Leipzig at the moment. I’ve heard that Chelsea would like to get him. They would like to have him, and Tuchel is learning from Zsolt Low because he knows Konate from their time at Leipzig.’

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Falk believes that this connection could help Chelsea get a boost in their pursuit and it was good for Tuchel. It remains to be seen how the Blues take advantage of this situation to prise away one of the best, emerging centre-backs in Europe.

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