Eden Hazard made a huge impact in his cameo against Arsenal during the weekend, and the manager Antonio Conte has confirmed that the Belgian star is ready to start for Chelsea in the EFL Cup match against Nottingham Forest today. Hazard remains as one of the biggest attacking threats for Chelsea, but he has missed the start of the season due to a knee injury. While he did feature in the World Cup qualifiers for Belgium, Conte was least pleased with this decision as he felt that Hazard needed more time in order to make a 100% come back from the injury.
The 26-year-old was a key figure in our Premier League title success last season, as he came up with five assists and 16 goals in the league. After having been linked with a move to Real Madrid throughout the summer, he seems ready to make an impact in this Chelsea team. His return is key for Chelsea in the title race. Manchester United and Manchester City are considered more likely to win the title, but a Hazard on top form could change this aspect.
Yet, it is a surprise to see Hazard start in the EFL Cup match. The game is against a Championship team who are likely to be quite physical in their approach. As a result, there may be a greater chance of Hazard being fouled often in the game. One of the few positives is the location, as Chelsea are not going away to a lower league opposition for this game. The blues are at Stamford Bridge for this match. Hazard may get freedom on the pitch to express himself, and he is likely to be joined by a number of youngsters.
The two youngsters who are likely to get the headlines in this game are Kennedy and Charly Musonda. The two players are expected to occupy the flanks with Kennedy coming in for Marcos Alonso and Musonda being used as the replacement for Victor Moses. As Chelsea continue to be criticised for not giving in a first-team opportunities to the highly talented youngsters at the club, it remains to be seen if Antonio Conte’s glowing words about Musonda will come true.
“Charly’s talent can be seen clearly, he’s trying to adapt himself in this league, it’s a physical league and he’s a bit thin,” said Conte to Sky Sports when asked about the possibility of Musonda being a key player for Chelsea in the coming years.