Antonio Conte has confirmed that Eden Hazard will start for Chelsea on Wednesday night against Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup to ‘complete his recovery’.
The Blues boss has been holding back the 26-year-old after his ankle injury during the summer to make sure that he is back to full fitness as soon as possible and he got another 20 minutes in the 0-0 draw against Arsenal this afternoon.
The Belgian is yet to start for the Blues, however with the visit of the Championship side in the cup during midweek, Conte feels it is the best chance for him to start to be ready for Stoke City at the weekend.
“The last 20 minutes he played very well. On Wednesday he will have the chance to start against Nottingham Forest and then to complete his recovery. We hope that everything is okay after this game.”
Conte also confirmed that Pedro was substituted at half-time due to a knock he took on his ankle in the first half.
“He took a bad tackle in his ankle, he wasn’t 100 per cent fit, so I had to make a substitution,” Conte added.
“We have to check with the doctor and we hope it is not serious. We lost him again against China and Singapore.”
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Graeme Souness slams David Luiz and Antonio Conte after horror Kolasinac tackle
Graeme Souness slammed David Luiz for his ‘reckless’ challenge on Sead Kolasinac during Chelsea’s goalless draw against Arsenal.
Brazilian defender Luiz was shown a straight red card in the latter stages of the match for a late foul on the Arsenal summer signing.
Antonio Conte was seen berating the officials after the decision and Souness criticised the Chelsea manager’s reaction.
‘I’m struggling to understand what the manager is going on about there – waving an imaginary card about,’ Souness told Sky Sports.
‘It’s reckless. It’s a leg-breaker and a red card plus.’
Arsenal legend Thierry Henry also said Luiz’s challenge warranted a red card, adding: ‘He’s upset with [Alexis] Sanchez, he forget to play football and he took his frustration out on Sead. No doubt it was a red.’
The Gunners were blown away by Liverpool two weeks ago and Wenger was pleased with his side’s response against another top team at Stamford Bridge.
‘It was about mentality and a response from our last away game. We could have won it. It was an intense game,’ the Frenchman said.
‘The battle was total. We are not in a transfer period and on the day we played Liverpool that affected us. We are all human beings.
‘If you play 55 games a season you can have a bad performance.
‘But we were focused and determined. We tried to play when we had the ball and we were close to winning the game. With a bit more freedom we would have won the game.’
On Luiz’s dismissal, Wenger added: ‘David Luiz, it looked excessive force to me, at what level did he catch Kolasinac? I don’t know.’