The tricky winger, who has been in dazzling form for the Blues this season, was omitted from Antonio Conte’s squad in a last minute call after being deemed unfit to play following a slight injury picked up during Chelsea’s 1-0 win over West Brom on Sunday.
The severity of Hazard’s injury remains unknown, however, Conte is not prepared to risk one of his star players during such a hectic period of fixtures.
Chelsea are set to play five games in 22 days over the festive season and will need Hazard back on the pitch as soon as possible if they are to keep up their unbeaten run.
The Blues travel to Wearside tonight hoping to secure their 10th consecutive victory in the Premier League and the chance to go six points clear at its summit following Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat to Everton at Goodison Park on Tuesday night.
Hazard, on the other hand, could return to the squad for Chelsea fixture against Crystal Palace on Saturday but only time will tell how long he will be sidelined.
The Belgium international has been in superb form for the Blues this season, especially since moving into a slightly more central role in Conte’s new 3-4-3 system, and will be a big miss in tonight’s fixture.
Branislav Ivanovic has been picked in Hazard’s absence giving the Serbia international the opportunity to gain a rare start under Conte.
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