Chelsea have come out of a selection crisis with only one defeat and they are now looking in much better shape as they prepare to face Leicester City on Saturday.
The Blues and the Foxes are the last two Premier League champions but attentions may be focused onto Danny Drinkwater, who left Leicester for London on transfer deadline day in a £35 million move.
Craig Shakespeare’s side have only three points from their first three games and they will want a positive result as Chelsea aim to send an early message that they are ready to retain their league title.
Antonio Conte has passed the worst of his selection problems at Chelsea and prepares to welcome back Eden Hazard at the weekend, who should be in contention to start his first game of the season.
Hazard played 77 minutes of Belgium’s 9-0 win over Gibralter on Thursday night before coming on in the 74th minute as they ran out 2-1 winners against Greece on Sunday evening.
Hazard has not featured for the Blues since the FA Cup final after he fractured his ankle in training with the national team back in May.
Recent absentees such as Tiemoue Bakayoko and Pedro have also returned meaning that Chelsea have almost a full compliment of players. Drinkwater is also available to make his debut against his old club, after shaking off a thigh injury and training with Chelsea this week.
Diego Costa has been ordered to return to Cobham but remains away from the first team group. However, he has been included in the squad list for the Premier League this season, so he is technically available for selection.
Gary Cahill will sit out the final game of his three-match ban after being sent off against Burnley on the opening day of the season. Cesc Fabregas returned from his suspension in the 2-0 win over Everton to score the opener.
POTENTIAL STARTING LINE UP
Chelsea’s 3-4-3 remains the club’s primary formation after Conte won the title with the system last season. He also used a 3-5-2 in the impressive rearguard display as his side beat Tottenham 2-1 at Wembley.
The Blues appear equally comfortable in both systems and, with seven games during the month of September, Conte may opt to rotate his players on a regular basis.
Alvaro Morata has already established himself as Chelsea’s main striker, after Michy Batshuayi started the season with the Spain international on the bench.
The Blues have options all over the pitch after a busy transfer deadline day as Davide Zappacosta and Drinkwater joined the club.
Conte has more options against Leicester than he has had for any match until now and he will be faced with a few big selection decisions.
LEICESTER TEAM NEWS
Robert Huth could return for Leicester but he has been out since July after ankle surgery. Vicente Iborra has been out since August with a groin injury after signing for the club in the summer.
Kelechi Iheanacho should return to the squad after a foot injury but the Foxes’s failure to sign Adrien Silva ahead of the transfer deadline has left them short of numbers in midfield.
Aleksandar Dragovic is another option and he could make his debut after he made his loan move from Bayer Leverkusen.
BEST OPTA MATCH FACTS
Leicester have lost 11 of their last 13 games against Chelsea in all competitions, with their only two non-defeats in that time coming in the 2015-16 Premier League season (W1 D1).
The Foxes have only kept one home Premier League clean sheet against Chelsea in 11 matches against them, with Pegguy Arphexad the goalkeeper to do so in February 1998.
Chelsea haven’t won away from home in the month of September in any of the last four Premier League seasons (W0 D4 L3). Last season they drew 2-2 at Swansea before losing 0-3 at Arsenal in September 2016.
Danny Drinkwater has made more tackles in the Premier League than any other English player (190) since the start of the 2015-16 season.
Cesc Fabregas has been involved in six goals in four starts against Leicester for Chelsea in all competitions, scoring three and assisting three – against no side has he been involved in more goals for Chelsea.
TV CHANNEL & KICK OFF TIME
The match kicks off at 3:00 BST but it is not due to be shown live in the UK. The game’s highlights will be first televised on BBC’s Match of the Day at 22:30
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