Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is unsure whether Eden Hazard will start this weekend’s London derby against Arsenal.
The Belgium international came on for the final half an hour of the Blues’ 6-0 triumph over Qarabag in the Champions League on Tuesday night.
Hazard has made two cameo appearances for Chelsea this month after making his injury comeback during the World Cup qualifiers for Belgium. While the attacker has insisted that he is up to full fitness, Conte has refused to take any risks with the Belgian crucial to the club’s progress across all competitions.
Speaking after the Qarabag win, he said: “We must have a bit of patience with him and to try to give the possibility for Eden to recover very well. We must be calm and to do the best for the player and for the team. Otherwise, we risk a bad injury to delay the situation. This is the right way. This process is good for him.”
Qarabag had beaten the champions of Georgia, Moldova and Denmark to reach the Champions League proper for the very first time, and manager a different proposition, he said: “The game was very difficult for us. Chelsea played very good. Chelsea is a favourite for the tournament. We made lots of errors and I accept we must play even better. But I am satisfied with the way we played.”
Chelsea have dominated the proceedings against Arsenal in recent seasons, and they are unbeaten against them at Stamford Bridge for the past five years. Arsene Wenger’s side have proved a stumbling block for the Blues at the Wembley in the recent past, but the Blues are likely to be encouraged by the Gunners’ woeful away record against the top-six opposition. Antonio Conte’s side clinched a convincing 3-1 victory over Arsenal in the previous outing at Stamford Bridge with Hazard netting the second a sublime solo goal which knocked the wind from the Gunners’ sails.