After their meek surrender against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, Chelsea need a response when they take on Crystal Palace on Saturday.
As he gears up for the day’s late fixture, under pressure Blues boss Antonio Conte will look to have as many options available to him as possible to get back on track in the race for the top four.
Cesc Fabregas and Danny Drinkwater struggled in the engine room against the champions elect so Conte will be eagerly awaiting the return of midfield duo N’Golo Kante and Ross Barkley.
We’ve taken a closer look at when the Italian can expect them back, as per PremierInjuries.
When was he injured?: Barkley suffered a recurrence of his long-standing hamstring problem in training in early Feburary. It’s the same injury that delayed his move to Stamford Bridge.
Potential return date: 10/03/2018
What will be the impact of his return?: In truth, Barkley’s Chelsea career hasn’t really got off the ground yet. That means that his return is likely to see him introduced from the bench at most, to provide a moment of inspiration to break down a Palace defence renowned for defending deep. He will only start if Conte rests players ahead of the crunch clash with Barcelona next Wednesday.
When was he injured?: Kante fainted at the club’s Cobham training ground on Friday and that saw him ruled out of the City game.
Potential return date: 10/03/18
What’s the impact of his return?: He was badly missed at the Etihad. Fabregas and Drinkwater lacked energy, and that is something Kante is renowned for. He would have got about City’s slick midfield and could have disrupted their passing game that penned Chelsea back.