Chelsea travel to Crystal Palace for a tricky away fixture, with Antonio Conte having a full strength squad at his disposal.
Antonio Conte revealed in his pre-match press conference that there were no new injury concerns for his squad. Captain John Terry remains unavailable for selection for tomorrow’s tie. The Chelsea skipper has made only 8 appearances so far this season, with his last involvement coming in a 6 minute cameo during Chelsea’s win against Everton, after which he immediately picked up another injury.
Brazilian midfielder Oscar isn’t likely to feature today either, after Chelsea were reported to have accepted a £60 million bid from Chinese side Shanghai SIPG and the Italian insisted that nothing had been confirmed regarding his future and that people would have to wait for an outcome.
Eden Hazard was unavailable for selection against Sunderland after picking up a last minute injury. He didn’t travel with the squad, but Conte revealed that Hazard will be available for selection today against Crystal Palace. On being asked whether he would be involved in today’s game, Conte said “Yeah, I think he’s fit. He trained today with us,” before adding “Then, I have to see if I decide to put Eden in the starting XI – not only him, but also for the other players.”
It was the first Premier League game that Hazard missed this season, but Conte hoped that if a similar situation were to arise, his substitutes would step up to the plate. “Before with Eden we played a lot of games and we played very well, and then it can happen that a player has an injury. I hope when we have this type of situation the substitute plays very well.” He went on to say that he needed all his players in every game, but insisted that it was important to have options to chose from. “I repeat it’s important to have the possibility to choose, above all when we are in an emergency. Until now, we were lucky we haven’t had a lot of injuries.”
The Italian has something of a selection headache, given that he fielded his strongest players during their narrow 0-1 victory against Sunderland and fatigue may play a part in deciding today’s result, given that they have only had a day to prepare for the clash. With Kurt Zouma, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Marco Van Ginkel yet to return to full fitness and Oscar’s future thrown in doubt, the Italian has limited options to choose from. But given the sheer amount of quality present in his squad, that should be no excuse for not coming away from Selhurst Park with all 3 points, as Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace’s injury troubles far exceed that of Conte’s.