Ross Barkley is set to miss Chelsea's game against Watford following a hamstring injury, putting manager Antonio Conte's training methods under further scrutiny. The Blues have already had seven hamstring injuries this season with Barkley the latest casualty while Andreas Christensen also had to come off in an embarrasing 3-0 loss to Bournemouth at home in midweek with a similar problem.
The Telegraph reports that the midfielder picked up the injury in training but the exact nature and severity of the 24-year-old's problem are yet to be determined properly. There is no concrete evidence to suggest that the injury is just a recurrence of the hamstring injury that kept him out of action for the first half of the season.
Alvaro Morata, Victor Moses, N'Golo Kante, Gary Cahill, Cesc Fabregas and Willian are the others who have recently been out of the squad with hamstring problems. Willian, who picked up the injury in Chelsea's 2-1 loss to Arsenal in the second leg of the semi-final of the Carabao Cup, is expected to return against Watford, the report states.
Barkley's start against Bournemouth was only his first of the season and the midfielder completed 54 minutes before being replaced by Fabregas. The report states that there is concern in the Chelsea camp over Conte's training methods and his decision to fast-track Barkley into the squad despite coming back from a long-term injury.
Meanwhile, the Blues completed the signing of Emerson Palmieri and Olivier Giroud from Roma and Arsenal respectively before the end of the transfer window and are likely to be involved when the Blues take on Watford tomorrow ( 5 February). Star midfielder N'Golo Kante is hopeful that the duo can improve the team which is currently active on three fronts.
Kante has played alongside Giroud when the two were on international duty with France. The Blues, who won the league last season are currently fourth in the league table with 50 points, trailing league leaders Manchester City by 18 points.
"I know Olivier Giroud from the French national team. We all know what he did at Arsenal. He's a good striker who can score many goals. Emerson I don't know well, but from what I have heard he is a good player," Kante told Chelsea's official website.
"We hope they can bring something to the team and help us achieve something this season and in the future."