The Chelsea team that had played uncharacteristically quietly at Old Trafford last weekend are believed to have been affected by virus.
The table leaders were defeated by Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United in the match between both sides last Sunday, trimming their previously insurmountable gap against second-placed Tottenham to just four points.
However, Antonio Conte’s team were believed to have been affected by a bug that theoretically had spread through the squad at a team bonding meal last Thursday evening.
A clear case of this was in Marco Alonso, who was still suffering the effects of the virus on Saturday night and, despite being named in the starting lineup at United, complained of feeling ill after the pre-match warm-up.
He was then assessed by Chelsea’s medical staff, who recommended that the player be allowed to withdraw from the match. Alonso’s absence also meant that Cesar Azpilicueta had to fill his boots while Kurt Zouma was drafted in as a right-sided full-back, which in turn caused some irregularities to the team.
Amongst other also affected by illness were Diego Costa and Victor Moses. Both were starters in the game, but Moses was withdrawn nine minutes into the second half.
As for Costa, the striker missed training at the end of last week, and although declared himself fit he struggled to make an impact at Old Trafford. Despite praise from Conte regarding his consistently high work-rate, Costa appeared hampered in the game.
As Chelsea hopes that the trio of Alonso, Costa and Moses will be fit to play in the FA Cup semi-final against Spurs this Saturday, it remains that the virus is still making its presence known with Gary Cahill reportedly ill.