Eden Hazard and Diego Costa, who were rested in the FA Cup match against Tottenham, are likely to return to the starting lineup as Chelsea host Southampton.
Chelsea trumped Tottenham in the semi-finals of the FA Cup to book their place in the finals of the premier English cup competition. However, the focus now shifts to the Premier League, where the Blues host Southampton knowing that anything but a win is likely to affect their tag of title favourites.
Their lead at the top has already shrunk to four points and could further whittle in the mid-week, depending on results. However, Conte would be glad to have a fresh Eden Hazard and Diego Costa at his disposal. The duo were benched over the weekend to provide them with some rest, which is likely to aid their cause against Southampton.
Conte addressed the issue of resting the duo in the FA Cup semi-final in his pre-match conference and praised the duo’s attitude while saying that he had not yet considered whether they will return immediately to the starting lineup against Southampton.
Conte says he has no other injury concerns ahead of Southampton’s visit. #CFC
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 24, 2017
It’s matchday! ⚽️
The Blues take on Southampton at Stamford Bridge as we return to Premier League action.
COME ON CHELSEA! 💪 pic.twitter.com/zP5FGIffvv
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 25, 2017
“I have another day to decide our best 11 but they are in good condition and in good form, and for sure tomorrow I hope to see a good performance from all my players. When you have to play this type of game, it is very important to try to find the best solution, to give the right balance in our squad to play these games in these few days.”
“I have in my mind the starting 11 but tomorrow I want to check very well the physical consideration of every single player as our last game was an intense one and used energy. But we have trained very well this season and we have a lot of energy to face this type situation.”
For Southampton, besides the long-term injuries, which include Virgil Van Dijk, who is out for the season, Charlie Austin is doubtful along with Matthew Targett. However, Claude Puel will be looking towards Nathan Redmond and Manolo Gabbiadini to provide the attacking impetus.
Gabbiadini earned praise from Conte as well and it will be interesting to see if the Italian is able to have an impact on the result at Stamford Bridge. The fixture will also see Ryan Bertrand return to the Stamford Bridge. The full-back has grown leaps and bounds since leaving Chelsea for Southampton and would be eager to show it on Tuesday.