Antonio Conte insists he will keep on taking a mindful approach with Eden Hazard, but the Blues’ star looks more than prepared to make his first Premier League start of the season against Arsenal on Sunday if his performances in training are anything to go by.
The Belgian forward missed the start of the new season after he underwent an ankle surgery in the late spring, but has recuperated adequately to show up in each of Chelsea’s last two matches.
‘Eden, for sure he’s improving and I think he has to have this kind of passion with him is paying off,’ said Conte on Friday.
‘He’s very close, he’s very close to being totally fit and we have to continue in this way and don’t forget I have to make decisions for the team, for the players.
‘But I think he’s improving a lot and he’s very close to being 100% fit.’
Also, Hazard gave a sign of his improving condition on Friday with a stunning goal as he and his colleagues warmed-up for Sunday’s Stamford Bridge clash with FA Cup winners Arsenal.
Hazard featured in last season’s 3-1 win over the North London club at Stamford Bridge, scoring a critical and memorable goal, running from the midway line, shaking off a challenge from Francis Coquelin, wrong-balance both Mustafi and Laurent Koscielny and firing the ball past his former teammate Petr Cech.
After Chelsea opening day loss against Burnley, Conte’s side has recouped to record four straight wins in all competitions with both Willian and Pedro sparkling in Hazard’s nonappearance.