Speaking in his pre-match press conference (via Leeds Live), Thomas Tuchel revealed that all three of N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and Armando Broja will be unavailable for selection for the Blues’ trip to Elland Road as a result of injury. Christian Pulisic – who has been linked with a move to Leeds in recent weeks – is also a doubt for the clash.
Regarding the current state of his squad, the German said on Friday: “[Kante is] quite serious, we are talking weeks which is not good news. We are disappointed and sad because he was super important and fit. He will be out for several weeks.
“Armando [Broja] is out for days, Mateo Kovacic is out as well with knee problems. Christian Pulisic has Achilles problems and trained today. Let’s see.”
Considering just how important Kante is in the heart of the Chelsea midfield, as Tuchel himself stated, the news that the France international – in addition to Kovacic, Broja and possibly Pulisic – will not feature against the Whites this weekend is sure to have left Jesse Marsch buzzing.
Indeed, the £36m-rated midfielder has been in excellent creative form over the Blues’ opening two fixtures of the 2022/23 Premier League campaign, enjoying an average of 77.5 touches of the ball, completing 53 passes, making 1.5 key passes and completing two dribbles per game.
The £289k-per-week talent has also impressed in a defensive capacity, making 2.5 tackles, 1.5 interceptions and winning 4.5 duels (at a success rate of 53%) per game. These returns have seen the 31-year-old average a SofaScore match rating of 7.15, ranking him as Tuchel’s fourth-best player in the top flight so far this season.
As such, it is clear to see that Kante’s absence – coupled with the further unavailability of Kovacic, Broja and potentially Pulisic – will come as a huge boost to Leeds’ chances of picking up a positive result at Elland Road tomorrow afternoon, which should certainly delight the Leeds faithful and Marsch alike.