Conte unsure whether Hazard will face Arsenal

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Antonio Conte says he has not yet decided whether Eden Hazard will return to the Chelsea starting line-up for Sunday’s derby against Arsenal.

Hazard, who had ankle surgery during the summer, has yet to start a game for the Blues this season.

He featured as a substitute again on Tuesday, coming on in the second half of the Champions League win against Qarabag.

But boss Conte insisted it is too early to say whether Hazard will be ready to start against the Gunners this weekend.

“We must have a bit of patience with him and to try to give the possibility to Eden to recover very well, to be totally fit,” Conte said.

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“This is the right process for him. We must have calm and do the best for the player and for the team, because otherwise we risk a bad injury and delay the situation.

“Don’t forget, there are two players – Pedro and Willian – that are playing very well.”

Conte made a number of changes for the Qarabag game, giving Michy Batshuayi and Andreas Christensen chances to impress.

“I wanted to give an opportunity, a good chance, to Michy and Christiansen,” he said.

“To play in the Champions League, it means that the coach trusts you. My message was this: I trust all my players, not only with words but with facts.

“I decided to play with a rotation because we have to start the process to improve these players and try to create a good competition between them. A positive competition is very important.

“It was a perfect start for us, to play the first game in the Champions League, to win with a good result, to score many goals and to finish the game with a clean sheet.”

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