Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has revealed that he expects midfielder N’Golo Kante to recover from an injury in time to face Arsenal on Sunday, when he can be joined by new team-mate Romelu Lukaku.
Kante missed the 3-0 victory over Crystal Palace this weekend after complaining of an ankle injury after the Supercup triumph against Villarreal, where Mateo Kovacic took his usual place with Jorginho.
Kante lost on Arsenal / Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA / Getty Images
Chelsea managed without the Frenchman during the match, after which Tuchel confirmed that he expects to see Kante back in time for the trip to the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
“N’Golo felt discomfort in his ankle on Friday,” Tuchel said (via the club’s official website). “He felt it in the warm-up for the Super Cup match against Villarreal and he already played a bit in pain and overcame the pain in that match.
“But on Friday he recognized it and we decided to take him out and not take any risks now at the start of the season. I think N’Golo will be back in the middle of the week to hopefully be ready for Arsenal.”
The boss then changed his focus to Lukaku, whose mandatory quarantine period has ended. Now the value of 97.5 million pounds is free to join his new team and prepare to face an Arsenal back line that just tore apart the physique of Brentford’s Ivan Toney.
“We expect Romelu to complete quarantine in time to join team training on Tuesday, because Monday is our day off,” he said. “So we will try to prepare him to play against Arsenal and hopefully he can be on the pitch.”
Tuchel even hinted that Lukaku’s return could lead to a change in formation as he looks for a way to keep his plethora of attacking players happy.
“With the addition of Romelu, we get the number one striker and we want him on the pitch,” said Tuchel. “This is very clear. If you make this type of transfer, we’re pretty sure we want him on the pitch, but I think he’s going to lift the pressure from the shoulders of the young guys, from Kai. [Havertz], Timo [Werner] and Christian [Pulisic], because Romelu is the kind of personality who loves responsibility.
“I think we now with Romelu have the chance to also play with two strikers, as they did at Inter with him, or to continue with three strikers. We will now see how this works and we will find a solution for the players around him. . “