Antonio Conte has confirmed that Danny Drinkwater will not feature for Chelsea as the Blues prepare to host local rivals Arsenal on Sunday.
Focus shifts from the 6-0 Qarabag demolition in the midweek to the task at hand. Local rivals Arsenal are set to pay visit to the Stamford Bridge on Sunday, a tie that holds huge significance to either side. And Chelsea go into the game with some positive news, with Gary Cahill set to return after he served his suspension for the Burnley sending off.
Chelsea fans, though, will have to wait a bit longer to see their deadline day signing Danny Drinkwater in action, who Antonio Conte confirmed is still out due to the calf injury sustained during training and is unlikely to take any part in Chelsea’s games before the international break, which is three weeks from now.
OFFICIAL: Antonio Conte confirms that Danny Drinkwater suffered a calf injury in training yesterday. pic.twitter.com/eai7bEcUwI
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) September 11, 2017
There was positive news, though, delivered by the manager in his pre-match conference as regards Eden Hazard, who Conte pointed out was close to being 100% match fit but highlighted that he would still have to be deployed similarly to the last couple of games.
“For sure he’s improving. Having this patience with him is paying off. He is very close to being totally fit. We have to continue in this way. I have to make the best decision for the team and the players, but he’s improving a lot and is very close to being 100 per cent fit.”
Conte’s comments points towards another appearance on the bench for Eden Hazard, who will likely be brought into the game later on to gain some match fitness and to have an impact on the match, if the need does arise.
The big question, though, will revolve around two areas – the right wing-back and the 3-man backline. Davide Zappacosta is in with a shout to be chosen over Victor Moses after the Italian’s performance against Qarabag.
However, Moses could be chosen ahead of his counterpart mainly down to experience in the fixture and perhaps, Conte’s views about rotation. Gary Cahill returns from suspension and is likely to take back his spot in the 3-man backline.
Andreas Christensen will likely to have to make way for Cahill, despite putting in assured performances for the Blues, who would be looking to exact revenge for the recent Community Shield defeat against the Gunners.