By Ben Dinnery

26th Oct, 2021 | 11:22am

Injury expert issues pre-Southampton Kante prediction as 'six-month' Chelsea plan explained

Thomas Tuchel left N’Golo Kante out of the Chelsea starting XI at the weekend as he is looking to preserve him for the next “six months”.

So says injury expert Ben Dinnery, who runs the Premier Injuries site and has a background in medicine and data analysis.

Kante, who was suffering from muscle tightness, was not involved in the table-toppers’ 7-0 pasting of bottom-placed Norwich on 23 October.

Speaking to the club’s media team ahead of the match, Tuchel admitted he said “no” to the defensive midfielder as the game came “too early”.

Dinnery insists the German boss made the right call and that Kante could return for tonight’s (26 October) League Cup clash against Southampton.

“It was 100 per cent the right call, without question,” he told Football Insider correspondent Adam Williams.

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“He completed the training session on Friday then complained of a little bit of tightness. He then went for a little bit of massage work with the physios.

“Then the decision was made ahead of the early kick-off to rest up. He will potentially be back in the League Cup tonight.

“If he had played, the risk was that he could have suffered a major setback. We know he has suffered several soft tissue problems in recent times.

“Jorginho and Kovacic have been playing really well, and Ruben Loftus-Cheek has played well too.

“There is plenty of strength in depth, and Tuchel is really good at looking at the longevity of a player across the season.

“It’s not about these one-off games, it’s about protecting players with a view to a busy fixture period coming up over the winter months.

“There are about six months left after all. Protect the vulnerable players now and reap rewards further down the line.”

In other news, ex-Fifa referee claims Norwich star should be banned after he analyses controversial Chelsea footage.