Sunday, October 22, 2017

Bakayoko fit after car accident and Hazard ready to start, says Chelsea boss Conte

SoccerNews in English Premier League 22 Sep 2017

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Tiemoue Bakayoko is fit to play for Chelsea against Stoke City despite his involvement in a car accident, while manager Antonio Conte now considers Eden Hazard ready to start Premier League games.

Midfielder Bakayoko, signed for around £40million from Monaco in July, was involved in a minor road incident on his way home from training on Thursday.

But Conte will be able to call upon the 23-year-old for Saturday’s trip to Stoke after he suffered no ill-effects.

“No [injury news] – all players are available apart from Danny Drinkwater who is continuing to work to recover,” said Conte.

“Yes, Bakayoko is fit. It was a minor accident Thursday. He is fit and he is available for the Stoke game.”

Hazard, meanwhile, made his first Chelsea start of the season in the 5-1 EFL Cup win over Nottingham Forest on Wednesday after breaking his ankle in June and Conte now considers his recovery to be complete.

The Belgium international’s availability comes at an ideal time as Chelsea face a huge trio of fixtures over a one-week span, with an away Champions league game against Atletico Madrid and a home Premier League clash with title rivals Manchester City following their trip to the bet365 Stadium.

“I’m pleased for Eden because in the last game he played I think he played very well with good intensity,” said Conte. 

“I think now his injury has been overcome. Now we have to play three games and yes, there is the possibility to try to pick him for these games.”

He added: “We have to play against Stoke then on Wednesday another really important game for us against Atletico Madrid. 

“Don’t forget after two and a half days we have to play another important game against Man City. 

“It will be important to face this type of situation in the right way. It won’t be easy to have three strong games, so tough games, very, very close together.”

Chelsea’s last top-flight outing ended in a frustrating 0-0 draw against Arsenal at Stamford Bridge. 

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