EPL 2016-17: Eden Hazard gives Chelsea an injury scare
Eden Hazard has added to Antonio Conte’s injury woes ahead of Chelsea’s weekend clash vs Middlesbrough. Hazard was substituted in the 73rd minute in Belgium’s 8-1 World Cup qualifying win over Estonia. The Belgian did score in the game but hobbled on his way out giving Chelsea manager plenty to think about ahead of their next match.
Chelsea striker Diego Costa is another player who is in line to get a rest this weekend after Spanish FA confirmed that the striker is nursing a groin injury and will not play any part in Spain’s friendly match against England later tonight.
While the extent of duo’s injury is still unknown but their absence from the upcoming matches will keep Chelsea medical staffs on their edge in coming days.
Both Costa and Hazard have carried Chelsea so far this season which sees the Blues just 1 point off Liverpool at the top of Premier League table. While Costa has managed 9 league goals this season, Hazard is looking more of a player we saw in 2014 as the Belgian has already netted 7 goals this season.
With Hazard and Costa likely to miss out, Chelsea will need to find a new way of getting a result against Middlesbrough who have shown enough this season to suggest that they might create a problem or two for Conte’s in-form side.
How will Chelsea line-up in absence of Costa and Hazard?
It is hard to imagine that Antonio Conte will ditch his trusted 3-4-3 system which has brought evident success for the Blues. Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 5 matches and are yet to concede in that run. Considering that fact, Conte will stick with the formation and would look to alternate the personnel.
Two players who could get a look-in this weekend will be Willian and Michy Batshuayi who have waited patiently for their chance to impress the new manager. With Victor Moses and Pedro finding new lease of lives under Conte, Willian has been limited to a role from the bench but the Brazilian could feature against Middlesbrough and remind Conte why he was Chelsea’s player of the season in a trouble hit 2015/16 campaign.
Meanwhile, Batshuayi has impressed in the little game time that has come his way and the weekend game could be another opportunity for the young Belgian to show his talent. As for Hazard and Costa, we may see them on the bench this weekend and they might be sent on if the game does not pan out as per Conte’s plans.