Double blow for Chelsea as Costa AND Kante out of Bournemouth clash

The Premier League’s top goalscorer will be be missing for the Blues on Boxing Day after collecting a fifth yellow card of the season.

Diego Costa and N’Golo Kante will miss Chelsea’s clash with Bournemouth on Boxing Day after receiving their fifth domestic yellow cards of the season against Crystal Palace.

It was the first time in 11 matches that Costa has been cautioned, with the Spaniard having improved his disciplinary record since the start of the campaign.

He collected four cautions in his opening seven domestic appearances of the season in all competitions, but the last of those came against Arsenal on September 24.

Costa has been walking a disciplinary tightrope since then, and has finally toppled off after talking his way back into the referee’s notebook.

He will be a big miss for the Blues as he currently tops the Premier League goalscoring charts with 13 for the season.

Costa has played a leading role for Antonio Conte’s side as they have pieced together a 10-game winning run, and opened up a four-point lead at the summit.

They are guaranteed to be top of the table on Christmas Day, but will be without their most potent attacking weapon 24 hours later.

The Spain international has struggled to stay out of trouble throughout his time in English football, and is once again leading the way when it comes to cards at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea do have international-calibre options in reserve, with Costa’s absence likely to play into the hands of Michy Batshuayi – as he looks to make his mark in English football following a summer move from Marseille.

He has been restricted to just 76 Premier League minutes so far and has netted only once in the English top-flight – against Watford back in August.

Conte will also need to find cover for Kante, with the France international set to miss out against the Cherries.

His bookings have arrived in a flurry, with four picked up in the space of six appearances – having previously made it from the opening day to November 20 without seeing yellow.

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