Kovačić ruled out of action for two weeks: The Wembley Stadium sighed in unison as Mateo Kovačić hobbled off the pitch with a suspected ankle injury in the early quarter of the FA Cup semi-final against Crystal Palace, sparking fears over the severity of the knock.
However, in a pre-match conference held at Cobham today, Thomas Tuchel moved to alleviate those concerns while speaking to the media ahead of his side’s clash with Arsenal, also revealing the timeframe surrounding Kovačić’s potential unavailability.
“Kova is out for the game, tomorrow. He has an ankle ligament injury and is in some pain.
He is looking at two weeks out and hopefully he won’t be out for much longer than that, but two weeks can be a long time for us in terms of games”.
Tuchel on injuries: "Kovacic is out for the game. It's a ligament injury, hopefully not longer than two weeks but that can be a long time for us in terms of games. Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ben Chilwell are out. Some other players are doubts but hopefully okay." #CFC
— Nizaar Kinsella (@NizaarKinsella) April 19, 2022
As things stand, Kovačić will join the injured duo of Ben Chilwell and Callum Hudson-Odoi on the sidelines, missing tomorrow’s meeting with Arsenal and likely the one with Manchester United as well, as he could still be on the mend during that time. While the situation is unfortunate, a two-week stand down period is mandatory for such injuries. One may even argue that his injuries are expected given his frequent participation in top division football as he’s Chelsea’s most favoured and instrumental playmaker.
Kovačić’s injury will certainly test the depth of Tuchel’s squad but Chelsea are currently quite well-placed in that context, having the likes of Kante, Jorginho and RLC as the available midfield options, especially considering Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s recent upturn in form, who seems the likeliest to replace the said midfielder.
Ruben is admittedly deserving of the place (as a temporary replacement, of course), particularly since he has shown his credentials by scoring a vital goal in Chelsea’s victory over the Eagles on the semi-final stage. Not only that, he is also sufficiently improving his play with every passing game. Nevertheless, Kovačić’s casualty, which likely won’t keep him off the field for too long, is still definitely a setback for Chelsea, as it came in largely unjust circumstances seeing that we have crucial matches coming up that we will have to navigate without our best player.
Kovačić injured 😫
Nice to see Ruben back but didn’t want it at the expense of our best midfielder.
— Alex Goldberg (@AlexGoldberg_) April 17, 2022
Besides the Kovačić unavailability, there are some additional fitness doubts for Thomas Tuchel to contend with ahead of the London Derby, however, they’re not as concerning.
‘As for the rest of the squad, Callum Hudson-Odoi is out for the game, Ben Chilwell is out of the game and we have some players that are doubts. We will need to examine those players before tomorrow but hopefully that is nothing too bad.’ Said the blues boss in his briefing.
Chelsea’s long-term absentee, Ben Chilwell – who was declared unfit to play for the remainder of the season – is now back in light training. However, Tuchel doesn’t want to risk a setback by pushing his return to the first team so soon. Addressing the questions surrounding Chilwell’s return to action before the summer, the blues boss said;
‘I don’t think so. Ben will now go into the transition period where he can join in with the Academy team for training on a tactical level over the next few weeks. We will give him time and won’t try to rush Chilly.
‘This will be his next steps and hopefully he can join in with first-team training before the end of the season, but there will be no matches at this kind of level for him’.
There's also an update on Ben Chilwell from the boss 👀 pic.twitter.com/GzzzTf7i2T
— Chelsea FC News (@Chelsea_FL) April 19, 2022
Along with Ben Chilwell, Callum Hudson-Odoi also remains sidelined with no definite update on the length of his unavailability. One thing that is for sure, is that he won’t be making a return any time soon, as hinted by Tuchel.
‘With Callum, we take things day by day and week by week but it is not possible for him to join in with team training just yet. We will not rush him either.’
Chelsea need 10 points from their final eight games for a guaranteed third place finish in the league. Currently, we have a five-point lead over the fourth-placed Spurs, with 2 games yet in hand so we don’t face tough challenges while we sit comfortably in third. However, since Arsenal will be competing for top four, underestimating them would be an expensive mistake on our part.
WATCH: Chelsea’s out-of-favour striker Romelu Lukaku scores twice in action-packed second half 🔥
Romelu Lukaku scores twice v Wolves: Chelsea welcomed Wolverhampton Wanderers to Stamford Bridge tonight in a contest where they were hopeful of reversing their poor run of form to guarantee themselves a Champions League berth.
Despite the Blues receiving two goal scoring opportunities in the first-half of the game, it still ended in a stalemate. However, as the second-half commenced, Romelu Lukaku stepped up to strike twice in quick succession to put Chelsea on a trajectory toward what appeared to be a deserved victory at that time.
Lukaku’s goal tally for Chelsea this season has totalled up to 14 now, causing him to become the highest goal scorer for the Blues, just a goal ahead of Kai Havertz. His performance tonight underlines his renewed confidence as he looks to be approaching the sort of form that had deserted him for most of the season.
Romelu Lukaku hadn’t scored in the Premier League since December 29th.
129 days later and he's got a brace in 3 minutes ⚽⚽ pic.twitter.com/FzZx49vvHw
— B/R Football (@brfootball) May 7, 2022
Watch how Romelu Lukaku scores twice in quick succession to give Chelsea’s scoreline an uplift:
The first goal came in response to a VAR call for a foul committed by Saiss on Romelu Lukaku as both players were caught up in a tangle on the edge of the penalty area.
Watch Lukaku’s left-footed penalty here:
The second goal was a Pulisic interception that found Lukaku who then completed the play with an emphatic low finish from the edge of the box with his weaker right foot.
Romelu Lukaku gets his brace with an assist from Christian Pulisic!
— Chelsea FC USA (@ChelseaFCinUSA) May 7, 2022
Lukaku wasn’t able to register himself on the scoresheet for Chelsea ever since the start of year 2022 – a daunting prospect for such an expensive striker – however, that record has been laid to rest today as his goals v Wolves have certainly managed to make a statement of his intent.
It’s a shame that a subpar defensive performance from his side overshadowed his monumental return to form. Chelsea were stripped to bone with comeback goals from Wolves that added misery to Chelsea’s hopes of securing a victory. The game ended in an unanticipated 2-2 draw.
After racking up underwhelming results from their recent run-ins, Chelsea are looking a lot less comfortable in the rough and tumble of Premier League’s top-four now. With the fourth-placed Arsenal and fifth-placed Tottenham breathing down Chelsea’s neck, their margin for error has now decreased to just two points, especially after having picked up only 5 points from a possible 15.
Official: Todd Boehly’s consortium signs agreement with Chelsea FC to succeed Roman Abramovich
Chelsea released an official statement in the early hours of Saturday morning confirming that the terms have been agreed with the LA Dodgers’ part-owner Todd Boehly’s consortium to complete the £4.25bn takeover of the club though the acquisition is yet to be approved by the Premier League authorities as well as the UK government.
The statement read:
‘Chelsea Football Club can confirm that terms have been agreed for a new ownership group, led by Todd Boehly, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter and Hansjoerg Wyss, to acquire the Club’.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) May 7, 2022
🚨🔵 Official. Chelsea statement now confirms that “terms have been agreed for a new ownership group, led by Todd Boehly, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter and Hansjoerg Wyss, to acquire the Club”. #CFC
It’s the end of Roman Abramovich era. pic.twitter.com/fTw5EMdd8p
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) May 7, 2022
Last week, it was revealed that Todd Boehly & Co were Raine Group’s preferred choice to succeed Roman Abramovich following which the group were given one-week window of exclusive negotiations with the club to finalise the takeover. The deal had appeared in doubt due to late interest from Sir Jim Ratcliffe, however, those fears were dissipated as the Ratcliffe bid was later dismissed on account of his inability to complete the sale process by May 31st – the date when Chelsea’s current license expires.
Although the group is fronted by Todd Boehly, private equity firm Clearlake Capital is the one providing the majority of the financial firepower to it. The consortium also includes Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss, Boehly’s fellow LA Dodgers’ owner Mark Walter and the British property developer Jonathan Goldstein.
As per Chelsea’s official statement, the £4.25bn headline sum includes the £2.5bn cost required to secure shares in Chelsea – which will go into a frozen UK bank account for the purpose of releasing 100 per cent of the proceeds to charitable causes – the remaining £1.75bn is the amount the group have committed to invest in the club’s future, covering costs regarding redevelopment projects and ensuring there are sufficient funds in place for operational use.
‘The proposed new owners will commit £1.75bn in further investment for the benefit of the Club. This includes investments in Stamford Bridge, the Academy, the Women’s Team and Kingsmeadow and continued funding for the Chelsea Foundation’.
The Clause also placed a limit on the debt the new owners can place on the club.
It also made sure the group pledged £1.75B to be invested in Chelsea's male and female teams, the academy, stadium, and the Chelsea Foundation.
Roman Abramovich secured Chelsea for at least 10yrs. pic.twitter.com/RhZ985Vuxq
— SportsDokita (Odogwu ☝️) (@Sports_Doctor2) May 7, 2022
Few final, obligatory steps remain in the official transfer of ownership of Chelsea Football Club to Todd Boehly’s consortium, one of which requires all group members to complete the Premier League Owners’ and Directors’ Test. Furthermore, Chelsea will have to apply for the amended license from the UK government that would upgrade the club’s operational capacity in addition to allowing the transaction to go ahead. The preparations are underway as the Raine Group wants the sale process to reach its completion as soon as possible.
Chelsea team news v Wolverhampton Wanderers: Four players on the injury list, including a midfield duo.
Chelsea team news v Wolverhampton Wanderers: Chelsea welcome Wolverhampton Wanderers to Stamford Bridge on Saturday where they will be looking to reverse their poor run of form to guarantee themselves a Champions League berth. There are four player absentees that have been confirmed so far by head coach, Thomas Tuchel, in today’s pre-match conference.
After racking up underwhelming results from their recent run-ins, Chelsea are looking a lot less comfortable in the rough and tumble of Premier League’s top-four now. With the fourth-placed Arsenal and fifth-placed Tottenham breathing down Chelsea’s neck, their margin for error has now decreased to just three points, especially after having picked up only 4 points from a possible 12.
Chelsea team news v Wolverhampton Wanderers: The central midfield duo N’Golo Kante and Jorginho are ruled out of action for tomorrow’s clash as reported by Thomas Tuchel at a press briefing today.
Additionally, the long-term absentees Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ben Chilwell also remain restricted to the sidelines, despite returning to light training.
— Absolute Chelsea (@AbsoluteChelsea) May 6, 2022
N’Golo Kante had sustained a knock in the game against Manchester United, consequently missing last weekend’s trip to Everton where his fellow midfielder Jorginho was taken off the pitch at interval.
‘For N’Golo it comes too early. Jorginho is out as well, these two are missing. Callum and Ben Chilwell are still out,’ said the Blues boss.
The duo’s unavailability will give way to introducing Kovačić and most likely RLC in their stead as the latter is currently enjoying an upturn in form.
Mateo Kovačić returned to action as a half-time substitute last weekend after missing a couple games on account of nursing an ankle injury. He stands the highest chance of featuring a start in tomorrow’s game v Wolves.
There is a growing feeling that Tuchel might give Romelu Lukaku a start tomorrow, considering his substitute Kai Havertz is also struggling to find the form that has recently deserted him.
Thomas Tuchel has expressed optimism regarding Lukaku’s reaction in training this week. The Blues boss said;
‘I want him to be an important part of the squad, right now he is very important. There is no recruitment and no players are about to leave because it’s simply not possible,’
‘We need to adapt all the time, to contractual situations and also individual situations, to what we and the players want.
‘We signed a big player, he is a big player. He didn’t come on [at Everton] as we had only three changes, and unfortunately we used one at half-time with Jorginho. Otherwise there was a huge chance we had the same changes as against West Ham, with Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech,’
‘He trained very well, maybe he starts tomorrow, we’ll see.’
🗣️ "Maybe starts tomorrow, let's see." 👀
Thomas Tuchel says he wants Romelu Lukaku to be an important part of the squad next season and discusses why he wasn't played against Everton 🔵 pic.twitter.com/n8Lf0sEvRP
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) May 6, 2022