Chelsea have been dealt another potential injury blow with the withdrawal of N’Golo Kante during France’s match against Bulgaria on Saturday.
The central midfielder appeared to be suffering from a hamstring problem as was taken off just 34 minutes into the key World Cup qualifier, raising fears he could be sidelined for Chelsea after the international break.
Antonio Conte’s Blues are already facing the prospect of going into their next Premier League match against Crystal Palace without Alvaro Morata, who was forced off in the defeat to Manchester City with his own hamstring issue..
Chelsea have also been without Danny Drinkwater, though it is hoped he will be ready to return after the international break..
If the former Leicester City man is not available, Cesc Fabregas and Tiemoue Bakayoko would likely form a central midfield partnership.
The Blues visit Selhurst Park on Saturday, October 14 before hosting Roma in the Champions League the following Wednesday.
Kante was replaced by Paris Saint-Germain playmaker Adrien Rabiot with France leading 1-0 thanks to an early Blaise Matuidi goal.
Les Bleus can guarantee at least a play-off place by beating Bulgaria and retaking top spot in Group A on 20 points with one game to play.
Their fate will then be decided in the final set of first-round fixtures, with France taking on Belarus at home and Sweden facing the Netherlands.
France were two points behind Sweden with a game in hand going into the Bulgaria match and four ahead of the Netherlands, who have also played one game fewer than the Swedes.