Premier League

After Kante blow, Conte looks to rejig Chelsea ahead of Crystal Palace clash

The defending champions are in fourth place, six points adrift of Premier League leaders Manchester City.

Antonio Conte must work out how to overcome the loss of midfielder N’Golo Kante when Chelsea attempt to get their Premier League title defence back on track at Crystal Palace.

Conte’s side signed off for the international break with a disappointing home defeat by Manchester City that left the defending champions in fourth place, six points adrift of Pep Guardiola’s Premier League leaders.

And the Blues suffered another blow last week when Kante picked up a hamstring injury while on duty with France. The midfielder limped out of the 1-0 victory against Bulgaria, and after returning to Stamford Bridge to be examined by club doctors, is now expected to be out for the rest of the month. Kante, 26, has been an ever-present during the league campaign so far.

While Conte will be confident his side can beat bottom club Palace, the former Leicester City man’s absence will be felt during the coming weeks when Chelsea will expect to make progress in the league and in back-to-back Champions League group meetings with Roma.

Conte is also likely to be without Alvaro Morata, who is suffering from a hamstring problem picked up in the City defeat. The forward’s injury is not as bad as first feared but he is not expected to be risked at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

The loss of two influential figures will place pressure on Conte’s squad. The manager was believed to have been left frustrated by his club’s failure to bring in more players during the transfer window.

And his decision to initially replace Morata with Willian, a midfielder, against City raised doubts about the manager’s faith in Michy Batshuayi, his only other recognised senior striker.

Batshuayi, who scored a memorable winning goal in the Champions League visit to Atletico Madrid, should start against Palace but Conte has also spoken of the possibility of employing Eden Hazard as a false centre-forward.

Hazard comeback

Hazard made his first league start of the season against City and the Belgium forward warned it will take time for him to overcome the lingering effects of a long-term ankle injury.

“I missed football for three months and it’s not easy to come back after a big injury but I did,” Hazard said. “I worked out during the summer. I just want to play football. I will miss some games, I will play bad for some games. I just want to play football and try to bring the best of me.”

Palace manager Roy Hodgson faces far more significant problems as his side attempt to halt a dismal start to the season that has left them without a point or a goal from the opening seven matches. Already Palace’s prospects look bleak, although they could be boosted by the return of winger Wilfried Zaha against Chelsea.

Zaha has been out with a knee injury and his absence has contributed to his team’s woeful lack of creativity up front. Hodgson, though, is convinced he can see signs of improvement.

“The messages being put across are being grasped by the players. We now have Chelsea and it doesn’t get any easier,” said the former England manager after the defeat by Manchester United before the international break.

“The break will be good to get more work done. I hope my enjoyment and passion for the game will spread over to the players. At the moment we’re like a boxer knocked down by superior fighters. We try to stay in there and not surrender.”

We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

The ordeal of choosing the right data pack for your connectivity needs

"Your data has been activated." <10 seconds later> "You have crossed your data limit."

The internet is an amazing space where you can watch a donkey playing football while simultaneously looking up whether the mole on your elbow is a symptom of a terminal diseases. It’s as busy as it’s big with at least 2.96 billion pages in the indexed web and over 40,000 Google search queries processed every second. If you have access to this vast expanse of information through your mobile, then you’re probably on something known as a data plan.

However, data plans or data packs are a lot like prescription pills. You need to go through a barrage of perplexing words to understand what they really do. Not to mention the call from the telecom company rattling on at 400 words per minute about a life-changing data pack which is as undecipherable as reading a doctor’s handwriting on the prescription. On top of it all, most data packs expect you to solve complex algorithms on permutations to figure out which one is the right one.


Even the most sophisticated and evolved beings of the digital era would agree that choosing a data pack is a lot like getting stuck on a seesaw, struggling to find the right balance between getting the most out of your data and not paying for more than you need. Running out of data is frustrating, but losing the data that you paid for but couldn’t use during a busy month is outright infuriating. Shouldn’t your unused data be rolled over to the next month?

You peruse the advice available online on how to go about choosing the right data pack, most of which talks about understanding your own data usage. Armed with wisdom, you escape to your mind palace, Sherlock style, and review your access to Wifi zones, the size of the websites you regularly visit, the number of emails you send and receive, even the number of cat videos you watch. You somehow manage to figure out your daily usage which you multiply by 30 and there it is. All you need to do now is find the appropriate data pack.

Promptly ignoring the above calculations, you fall for unlimited data plans with an “all you can eat” buffet style data offering. You immediately text a code to the telecom company to activate this portal to unlimited video calls, selfies, instastories, snapchats – sky is the limit. You tell all your friends and colleagues about the genius new plan you have and how you’ve been watching funny sloth videos on YouTube all day, well, because you CAN!


Alas, after a day of reign, you realise that your phone has run out of data. Anyone who has suffered the terms and conditions of unlimited data packs knows the importance of reading the fine print before committing yourself to one. Some plans place limits on video quality to 480p on mobile phones, some limit the speed after reaching a mark mentioned in the fine print. Is it too much to ask for a plan that lets us binge on our favourite shows on Amazon Prime, unconditionally?

You find yourself stuck in an endless loop of estimating your data usage, figuring out how you crossed your data limit and arguing with customer care about your sky-high phone bill. Exasperated, you somehow muster up the strength to do it all over again and decide to browse for more data packs. Regrettably, the website wont load on your mobile because of expired data.


Getting the right data plan shouldn’t be this complicated a decision. Instead of getting confused by the numerous offers, focus on your usage and guide yourself out of the maze by having a clear idea of what you want. And if all you want is to enjoy unlimited calls with friends and uninterrupted Snapchat, then you know exactly what to look for in a plan.


The Airtel Postpaid at Rs. 499 comes closest to a plan that is up front with its offerings, making it easy to choose exactly what you need. One of the best-selling Airtel Postpaid plans, the Rs. 499 pack offers 40 GB 3G/4G data that you can carry forward to the next bill cycle if unused. The pack also offers a one year subscription to Amazon Prime on the Airtel TV app.

So, next time, don’t let your frustration get the better of you. Click here to find a plan that’s right for you.


This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Airtel and not by the Scroll editorial team.