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Key duo miss Chelsea training ahead of Zagreb tie

The pair are now considered doubts for the clash

Graham Potter’s preparations for the final Champions League group game have been handed a major blow as it has emerged that neither Kepa Arrizabalaga nor Mateo Kovacic trained ahead of the clash.

The Spanish goalkeeper, who had until now been Potter’s no.1 choice over Edouard Mendy, was forced off at half time against Brighton at the weekend with a foot injury. Meanwhile, Kovacic has been managing a knee problem, which could throw his availability for the Premier League clash with Arsenal on Sunday into doubt.

Potter is already without N’Golo Kante due to a hamstring injury, while young star Carney Chukwuemeka was also forced to do individual training, suggesting that he may not be risked on Wednesday evening.

Reece James and Wesley Fofana are both long term absentees too, with the pair having been sent to Dubai this week for warm weather rehabilitation as both race to be fit for the World Cup.

A further headache for Potter is the Blues’ position over Denis Zakaria. Signed on loan from Juventus, numerous reports have claimed that Chelsea are keen to send him back in January, cutting short his season long loan. Should he feature for the Blues, however, he would not be able to play for another side with the Swiss midfielder having already turned out for Juventus this campaign, making a potential agreement with the Italian outfit to cut short his loan less enticing.

Meanwhile, Mason Mount and Conor Gallagher are both one booking away from a suspension, which raises further questions as to their involvement in what is already a dead rubber tie for the Blues. Mount in particular is a key man for Potter, and the new Chelsea boss will not want to lose him for any potential last-16 tie.

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Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.

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