Chelsea boss Antonio Conte says Eden Hazard is fit enough to start in Sunday’s London derby against Arsenal at Stamford Bridge.
The midfielder has only made two substitute appearance for the Blues so far this season following an ankle injury, but played more than 30 minutes in the 6-0 Champions League victory over Qarabag on Wednesday.
Hazard has also featured in two World Cup qualifiers for Belgium, and Conte is confident that the 26-year-old’s return has been properly managed.
“For sure he is improving,” Conte said at a news conference on Friday. “To have this type of patience is paying off.
“He is very close to being totally fit and we have to continue in this way.
“I have to make decisions for the best of the team and the best for the players. He is improving a lot and he is very close to being 100% fit.”
Conte expects a tough game against Arsenal, who came from behind to beat German side Cologne in the Europa League this week.
“Arsenal is one of the top six teams in England. They have a really good squad to fight for something important – the title in England,” the Italian said.
“It is a massive game. Against Arsenal it is always a massive game. Anything can happen and we must pay great attention and play a great game against a rival.”