Kante left for the Malmö match


Chelsea have traveled to Sweden for Tuesday’s Champions League match against Malmö without midfielder N’Golo Kante, who has remained in London for “treatment and recovery”.

Kante complained of muscle fatigue in the build-up to the 7-0 victory over Norwich, for which he had to rest, but he managed 64 minutes against Newcastle this weekend before being replaced by a more attacking replacement.

He did not appear to be injured at the time, and manager Thomas Tuchel revealed no fitness issues during his pre-match press conference, but a squad update on Chelsea’s official website before the match revealed that Kante has not traveled.

There is no mention of why Kante has been left at home, instead just a sentence that says he has joined Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner, Mason Mount and Mateo Kovacic for an extra period of “treatment and recovery”.

Tuchel’s lack of update on Kante suggests that the Frenchman is not actually injured and is simply resting for a match where the boss thinks he will not be needed.

Chelsea beat Malmö 4-0 just a few weeks ago, with Kante playing over an hour in that match, so Tuchel seems to give the Frenchman a little extra time to rest his muscles before returning to the league against Burnley on Saturday.

With Kante sidelined, Chelsea are a bit short on numbers in midfield. Jorginho, Saul Niguez and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are all available, while Ross Barkley is a more attacking option if Tuchel wants him.

There is also a place in the squad for 18-year-old academy star Harvey Vale, an offensive midfielder who has also served as an outfielder this season.

Chelsea enter the match as heavy favorites to win and will seek three points that could be crucial to their chances of topping their group.

Tuchel’s men are behind Juventus by three points – a consequence of the 1-0 loss in Turin in September.

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