In tonight’s London Derby, Chelsea travel to the london Stadium to face Slaven Bilic’s West Ham United as they look to reclaim their 10 point lead at the top of the table.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Antonio Conte revealed that there were no new important injuries within his squad and that all of his players, barring Eden Hazard, were all fit. The Belgian had ‘a little problem’ after he picked up a knock in training on Wednesday.
On being asked about his squad, Conte said, ” Nothing important, apart from a little problem for Eden Hazard. He got kicked when we began training again on Wednesday but I think it is nothing serious. The rest of the team is in good fitness and we are working very well.”
It is unlikely that the Belgian will miss this match, given that Conte has stated that it wasn’t something serious and Hazard has has about 4 days to recover. Even if Conte chooses to rest his star man, he can always call upon Willian to the starting XI.
The Italian also took the opportunity to clear out the speculation surrounding his own future, after reports had emerged last month which said that Serie A side Inter Milan were plotting a sensational summer swoop for him, only after one season at Stamford Bridge.
He insisted that he was happy at Stamford Bridge, on the only thing he missed was his family: ” I think my situation is very clear. I have a contract with Chelsea and we are trying to build something important with the club for the present and the future, the situation is very clear.”
Chelsea began their Premier League campaign with a dramatic victory against the Hammers at Stamford Bridge and needed a 89th minute Diego Costa winner to ensure they got all 3 points, after James Collins’ 77th minute strike canceled out Eden Hazard’s opener.
In that victory, summer acquisition Michy Batshuayi came on as a late substitute and set up the winner, but it is unlikely the Belgian will get his first Premier League start of the season at the London Stadium, given that Costa is still in hot form.
Cesc Fabregas, who started and starred in last week’s 3-1 victory against Swansea is also in line for a start against the Hammers after putting in a brilliant shift, but with Matic available, the Spaniard may have to settle for a place on the bench again.
In their last meeting, Chelsea used the 4-1-4-1 formation with Oscar, Ivanovic and John Terry all present in the starting lineup. It will interesting to see how Slaven Bilic’ side have prepared for the challenge of the new 3-4-3 and if they can be the first side to inflict damage on the Blues’ since Spurs in January.