Antonio Conte opens up about Eden Hazard ahead of Chelsea v Arsenal

Antonio Conte says Eden Hazard is approaching full fitness for Chelsea but hasn't decided whether to start him against Arsenal

eden hazard
Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard Photo: Nike

Antonio Conte says Eden Hazard is approaching full fitness but insists that he has not yet decided whether he wants to start the playmaker in Chelsea’s clash with Arsenal on Sunday.

The Belgian midfielder has been recovering from an ankle injury after undergoing surgery at the start of the summer.

Hazard has made his return to the first team for Chelsea in recent games and came off the bench during the Blues’ 6-0 thrashing of Qarabag in their Champions League opener on Tuesday night.

The 26-year-old is yet to start a game for Chelsea this season, but Conte has told Blues fans that his patient approach with the attacking midfielder will pay off in the long run.

Speaking at his pre-match news conference on Friday afternoon at Cobham, Conte said: “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.”

Chelsea head into the game having won their last four games in all competitions.

The west London side have moved up to third place in the Premier League table after victories over Tottenham, Everton and Leicester City.

Conte’s side are aiming to defend their title this season but have lost their last two meetings with Arsenal – the FA Cup final and the Community Shield.

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