Cesc Fabregas faces ten days out due to injury and is now in a race against time to be fit for Chelsea’s clash with Arsenal next week.
The influential midfielder picked up a hamstring issue in training on Tuesday after Antonio Conte had attempted to give him a rest over the weekend.
Fabregas was substituted in the 58th minute of Chelsea’s draw with Leicester City and the Blues boss admitted he and Eden Hazard were ‘very tired’ after a hectic fixture list.
Chelsea travel to the Emirates on Wednesday January 24 in the second leg of their EFL Cup semi-final tie after a goalless draw at Stamford Bridge last week.
Fabregas is a key member of Chelsea’s side and a source of creativity in a team that has racked up three 0-0 draws in a row.
The Spaniard will watch Chelsea’s FA Cup replay against Norwich City from afar as the Blues aim to book their place in the fourth round of the competition.
Chelsea medics are unsure how quickly Fabregas can recover, but are hopeful the 30-year-old will face Arsenal on Wednesday.
Hazard has suffered no such set-back despite fatigue issues and started on the bench against Norwich.
One player Chelsea will not have to contend with in the EFL Cup semi-final is Alexis Sanchez, who is on the verge of a switch to Manchester.
Chelsea 2017/18 Fixtures
Brighton (A) – Sat Jan 20
Arsenal (A) – Wed Jan 24 (EFL Cup)
Bournemouth (H) – Wed Jan 31
Watford (A) – Mon Jan 5
West Brom (H) – Mon Feb 12
Barcelona (H) – Tues Feb 20
Manchester United (A) – Sun Feb 25
Sanchez has reportedly agreed personal terms with Manchester United and the club want the Chilean’s move finalised before midday on Friday so he will be available to play on Saturday.
Chelsea had been linked with a move for Sanchez and Conte was asked about those rumours.
‘I don’t know. I don’t think so, I don’t know but I don’t think so,’ replied Conte when asked if Chelsea wanted to lure Sanchez to Stamford Bridge.