Chelsea could be without eight players for Man City clash as Frank Lampard confirms fresh injury blow

Frank Lampard has confirmed a groin injury will keep Benoit Badiashile out for Sunday’s game against Manchester City – one of up to eight injuries the Chelsea boss has to contend with.

City welcome Chelsea to the Etihad knowing a win will see them claim a third straight Premier League title, no matter Arsenal’s result at Nottingham Forest the day prior. Defeat at the City Ground for Mikel Arteta’s side would turn Sunday into a coronation, with top spot already confirmed.

Lampard endured a torrid start to life as Chelsea caretaker boss with six consecutive defeats across all competitions, before taking four points from his last two. But among a pile-up of fitness issues already at Stamford Bridge, centre-back Badiashile is has joined up to seven more players in being unavailable this weekend.

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“We’re pretty much similar to where we have been recently,” Lampard told the press when asked about injuries. “Mason [Mount], Reece [James], Chilly [Ben Chilwell], N’Golo [Kante] and Marc Cucurella are not fit.

“Kouli [Kalidou Koulibaly] has been training this week but is not ready for a game like this. He is ahead of schedule, to be fair. Benoit injured his groin in training two days ago and will miss the game. We are assessing that as we speak.”

Although there was no mention of him, the eighth concern for Lampard will be the fitness of Mateo Kovacic. The Croatian international limped off in the first half of last week’s 2-2 draw with Forest with what looked to be a muscular problem – he has not been spotted in first-team training.

Even with a fully-fit squad Lampard would face a tough task in halting City’s title push, with Pep Guardiola’s side in seemingly unstoppable form. The Blues have won 17 of their last 19 games – two draws being the away legs of their respective Champions League ties against Bayern Munich and Real Madrid – and look on course for an illustrious treble.

Lampard, who spent one season at City in 2014/2015, knows the size of the task at hand but refused to say his hosts are the Premier League’s greatest team.

“I don’t know about the greatest. I think that’s a hard debate,” Lampard said on Man City. “But I think they’re clearly a fantastic team. They have been for a good while now, so a huge credit to that consistency.

“They’re doing it year in and year out to those levels. They are very close to being the greatest-ever team. Obviously the cherry on top will be to keep winning, win the Champions League. The form they’re in at the minute; you wouldn’t want to bet against them in anything, so huge credit to the club.

“I worked there for a year, I understand it quite well, the manager and the players. They’re a really strong and smooth machine, so huge respect for them.”

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