Eden Hazard is unlikely to feature midweek in the Carabao Cup but Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri hopes he will be back next Sunday for the clash against Crystal Palace.
A back issue sidelined Hazard for Chelsea’s Europa League match against BATE, which the Blues came away victorious behind a Ruben Loftus-Cheek hat-trick.
The injury was not resolved in time for Hazard to take part in Chelsea’s Premier League visit to Burnley, though he was not missed as Sarri’s side came out 4-0 winners.
Though Sarri has been pleased with how well his side has played without their star man, the manager was clear he wants Hazard back quickly, though the midweek clash against Derby County is likely to be too soon for the Belgium international.
“I want him every match if possible because we have a lot of good players,” Sarri told reporters after the Burnley win. “Hazard offers something different.
“I am very happy as the team was able to score seven goals in two matches without Hazard. That’s a good sign.
“I want Eden as soon as possible. I’m not sure for Wednesday but hopefully for Sunday.”
While Hazard has been instrumental in Chelsea’s undefeated start to the Premier League season, Sarri has turned a midfield that struggled at times last season under his predecessor Antonio Conte into a strength.
The latest emergence in that department has been Ross Barkley, who was unable to make an impact last season due to injury after making the move from Everton to Stamford Bridge.
Barkley scored a dramatic last-second equaliser last week against Manchester United to preserve the Blues’ undefeated start to the league, and was excellent against Burnley, scoring once and adding two assists.
It makes three straight league games with a goal for Barkley and Sarri sees a player who has finally put injuries behind him in order to become a “complete” option in the midfield.
“He’s doing very well in this period,” Sarri said. “He’s improved in the defensive phase and he has improved his physical condition because the last season for him was very difficult with a very serious injury.
“He stopped the activity for six months. Now he’s improving the physical condition.
“He’s a very good player from a technical point of view. He’s improved the defensive phase. Now I think Ross is complete.”