The ill-timed international break is coming to an end, indeed for some it`s already over. Tonight Belgium became the first European team to qualify for next years World Cup in Russia.
A 2-1 win away in Greece gives our three Belgians, Thibaut Courtois, Eden Hazard and Michy Batshuayi the chance of a trip to Russia next summer. Good news for Chelsea fans…..Eden Hazard came on for the final 20 minutes and completed the game without aggravating his ankle injury.
When Hazard was called up for the two qualification games, there was surprise from Antonio Conte and outrage from Chelsea fans. With the benefit of hindsight it`s all worked out pretty well. Hazard has gained over 90 minutes of competitive action over the two games and scored a goal.
He can now return to Cobham and get himself ready to return to action for Chelsea, who travel to Leicester City on Saturday afternoon. It`s going to be very interesting to see how he links up with Alvaro Morata, who has also been successful whilst away, scoring in a 3-0 victory over Italy.
The clouds are beginning to lift.
More Breaking News:
Virgil Van Dijk: Antonio Conte will be disappointed Chelsea missed out on deal – reporter
Van Dijk emerged as one of the Premier League’s most in-demand players last season after impressing at Southampton over the past two years.
And a move to Liverpool appeared to be a formality until the Reds were accused of tapping the Holland defender up in June.
Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City were all said to be interested in getting Van Dijk on-board to bolster their backlines too.
However, Southampton managed to retain the 26-year-old’s services as the transfer window drew to a close last Thursday night.
Fifield has now offered his take on how Conte will be feeling after Chelsea chiefs failed to add Van Dijk to his squad.
Speaking on Sky Sports’ Sunday Supplement show, he said: “I think the hierarchy will look back and think: ‘We’ve not had a bad window’. They’ve spent £180m and recouped a fair chunk, and their squad is perhaps marginally stronger than in May.’
“But I think Conte wanted it to be a lot stronger and he’ll be disappointed that they haven’t got a Virgil Van Dijk or a [Romelu] Lukaku in. Alex Sandro as well. He wanted all these players, and that level of tension that’s been there all summer will continue to simmer.”
Chelsea ended the summer with six new signings, the most costly of which was striker Alvaro Morata at £75m.
The latest two of those recruits, Danny Drinkwater and Davide Zappacosta, are in line to make their Blues debuts against Leicester this Saturday.