Chelsea FC assistant coach Steve Holland has insisted that Eden Hazard remains doubtful for the clash against Atletico Madrid.
Chelsea host Sunderland at Stamford Bridge today as they look to close down the gap at the top with Liverpool. With Liverpool playing on Sunday, the Blues have the opportunity to put pressure on the Merseyside club with a positive result in this game. Jose Mourinho will also have to keep an eye on the upcoming Champions League semi-final tie against Atletico Madrid and his team selection for this game might reflect that.
Jose Mourinho doesn’t have too many injury concerns too deal with at the moment, but he will have to contain with the absence of one of the most important member of his squad – Eden Hazard. The Belgium international has missed Chelsea’s last three matches after picking up a calf injury in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie against PSG earlier this month. Assistant Coach Steve Holland has confirmed his unavailability for this game, and has also stated that Hazard is doubtful to recover in time for the first leg of their Champions League semi-final fixture against Atletico Madrid next week.
“I wouldn’t say he is definitely out [Of the clash against Atletico Madrid] at this stage but the fact he hasn’t yet trained with the rest of the group suggests he is a major doubt.” – The Chelsea assistant coach said in the pre-match press conference.
Other than the Belgium winger, Mourinho has a full fit squad to choose from ahead of this fixture. The Chelsea manager could have one eye on the Champions League game and decide to rotate a few of his players against Sunderland. Mourinho is expected to make three changes to the starting eleven he selected against Swansea City last week.
Ashley Cole, whose last start was against Stoke City back in January, could find a place in the starting eleven as Mourinho decides to rest Cesar Azpilicueta ahead of the Champions League game. Frank Lampard will replace Ramires in the midfield and he will partner Nemanja Matic in the pivot, who will be ineligible to play against Atletico.
Mohamed Salah will retain his place in the side after some impressive performances recently, but Andre Schurrle will drop to the bench with Oscar replacing him in attack. This means Willian, who played behind the striker against Swansea, will move out wide to the left. Demba Ba, who continued his recent goal scoring form in the last game, should retain his place in the side as well.
Expected starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Cech (GK); Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Cole; Matic, Lampard; Salah, Oscar, Willian; Ba