Chelsea team news vs Leicester: Eden Hazard to continue playing as ‘false nine’ as Alvaro Morata returns to fitness

Hazard has been leading the Chelsea attack ahead of Morata and Olivier Giroud

Friday 21 December 2018 17:06
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Eden Hazard is expected to be deployed as a ‘false nine’ for a third straight Premier League game when Chelsea play Leicester on Saturday.

Olivier Giroud played the full 90 minutes of Wednesday’s Carabao Cup win over Bournemouth, while Alvaro Morata returned to training on Thursday after a week out with a knee problem.

“There isn’t a ‘best’ position for Hazard,” said Maurizio Sarri. “Hazard is a wonderful player with a very high level of imagination. And I think he needs to be let free on the pitch. So I think there isn’t a ‘right’ position for him. But we need to have a very high level of organisation in ways to his movements.

“He told me that he likes very much to play there. So I don’t know. I wasn’t here last season, so I don’t know why Eden told people this. But, at the moment, he likes very much to play there.”

Andreas Christensen (hamstring) is the only injury absentee, while David Luiz, N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Marcos Alonso are expected to return to the starting line-up.

Sarri is expecting Christensen to miss matches against Leicester and Watford before facing a battle to be fit for the visit to Crystal Palace at the end of the month.

“We have a little problem with Christensen,” he said. “A little injury to his hamstring. The doctor yesterday told me it’s not really very serious, but he’ll need to rest for about a week, I think. So he rests now for a week and we will miss him for a couple of matches, I think.”

Elsewhere, Jamie Vardy should return for Leicester while Ben Chilwell could also be fit.

Striker Vardy sat out Tuesday's Carabao Cup defeat to Manchester City as boss Claude Puel eases him back from a groin injury.

Chilwell has missed the last two games with a knee injury but is back in training although Wilfred Ndidi (knee) is a doubt and Daniel Amartey (broken ankle) is out. Jonny Evans is back from suspension after missing Tuesday's penalty defeat.

Provisional Chelsea squad: Kepa, Caballero, Rudiger, Alonso, Fabregas, Jorginho, Kante, Barkley, Hazard, Pedro, Loftus-Cheek, Kovacic, Giroud, Zappacosta, Willian, Cahill, Christensen, Azpilicueta, Morata, Luiz, Emerson Palmieri, Ampadu, Hudson-Odoi.

Provisional Leicester squad: Schmeichel, Ward, Jakupovic, Simpson, Chilwell, Morgan, Evans, Maguire, Pereira, Soyuncu, Fuchs, Maddison, Albrighton, Iborra, Gray, Silva, Mendy, Ndidi, Choudhury, Ghezzal, Iheanacho, Diabate, Okazaki, Vardy.

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