Chelsea enter this match concerned about the health of quite a few key players. At the very least, Conte will be without Gary Cahill who was treated for gastroenteritis at the hospital this week. It’s possible the Blues could lose more players due to the illness going around Stamford Bridge.
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While I don’t believe this illness is a result of anything nefarious (as some Chelsea fans on social media seem to believe), it will certainly impact the match. Firstly, Cahill’s absence will send Kurt Zouma into Conte’s starting XI. He’s certainly a talented defender, but there’s a reason he isn’t a regular member of the club’s starting lineup.
Perhaps even more concerning, is the possibility that other Chelsea squad members will attempt to play through illness. On one hand, that’s an admirable thing for a player to attempt. On the other, it’s a selfish decision that could harm Chelsea’s chances of winning the FA Cup.
I don’t believe this match is going to be won or lost based on these mysterious Chelsea injuries, but they will be a factor. Conte and the Blues’ medical staff will need to work hard to minimize the effect of sickness on the match.