N’Golo Kante appears to be pretty functional ahead of the FA Cup final. The Chelsea midfielder has been in a race against time to be available for tomorrow’s encounter with Liverpool.
He hasn’t played the draw with Manchester United at the end of April, missing the three subsequent Premier League games.
After the 3-0 mid-week triumph over Leeds United, Thomas Tuchel uncertainly suggested he would know by today the extent of Kante’s availability for the weekend fixture at Wembley.
However, Chelsea’s club cameras might have already provided an answer.
Kante scores in training
During a shooting drill, which mainly involved crossing and finishing first time, the humble Frenchman could be seen taking part.
Not only being involved, but showing the others how the exercise should be executed.
The midfielder connected with a sweet volley that was just too hot to handle for the goalkeeper.
Concerns over Kante and Kovacic
Of course, this alone doesn’t provide a full doctor’s report on Kante’s fitness.
But it does prove he is up and moving, a positive sign leading into the showdown in the capital city on Saturday.
If the Parisian is ready for battle, then Tuchel might not hesitate to throw him into the fire.
He is already potentially going to be without one-half of his preferred midfield duo.
Mateo Kovacic had to be removed early against Leeds, following a horror tackle from Daniel James that led to a straight red card.
Kovacic tried to continue after the challenge, but the pain clearly took over as he later sat on the Elland Road surface and awaited more medical attention.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek replaced the Croat that night and maybe called upon again, depending on the status of his two fellow midfielders.
If this is the case, it will be one of the biggest occasions of Loftus-Cheek’s career.
The Englishman hasn’t played in a final for Chelsea since the Carabao Cup showpiece event in 2019.
He was injured for the 2019 Europa League and UEFA Super Cup final, the 2020 FA Cup final, then was on loan when Tuchel’s team reached the Champions League and FA Cup finals last season.
This term, the 26-year-old was an unused substitute in the UEFA Super Cup and Carabao Cup final, then didn’t even travel for the Club World Cup.
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