Antonio Conte has everyone except Ross Barkley available as Chelsea get set to host Arsenal at Stamford Bridge in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg.
Chelsea will be looking to take a step closer to another League Cup final, when they host Arsenal at Stamford Bridge in the first leg of the semi-final on Wednesday. Heading into a crucial London derby, Antonio Conte has a lot to be happy about, with a near full-strength squad at his disposal.
Eden Hazard was a minor doubt in the lead-up to the tie, with the Belgian winger struggling with a calf problem. But, the Chelsea boss has remarked in his pre-match press conference that Hazard has shrugged off the minor injury to declare himself to be available for the game against Arsenal.
“Eden is in a good physical condition. He has recovered well from a little problem in his calf. He is ready and is in contention for the game. Nobody else has any problems.”
The only player who will not be available on Wednesday is Ross Barkley, although the new Chelsea signing has started training at Cobham, and should be in contention for his debut soon, as per Conte.
“Tomorrow night is too soon for Ross [Barkley] but we must be pleased because his physical condition is good and he has started train with us and understand our football.”
The Italian also hinted that he will pick a strong side to face Arsenal on Wednesday night. The likes of Thibaut Courtois, Cesar Azpilicueta, N’Golo Kante and Alvaro Morata are all expected to return, with Hazard likely to start as well after recovering from his injury.
The key decision will be surrounding the formation, and Conte could dish out a more direct 3-4-3 formation instead of creating midfield overloads with a 3-5-2. If that indeed is the case, Pedro and Cesc Fabregas are the likely candidates to make the numbers in the lineup, ahead of Willian and Tiemoue Bakayoko.
The Spaniard’s selection seems imperative as he will provide the creative edge to test a vulnerable Arsenal defence. The first-choice wing-backs Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso should return to the starting lineup as well, after being rested last weekend.