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Danny Drinkwater suffered a calf injury and won’t be back until mid-October, after international break

– Captain Gary Cahill is back after a 3-match-suspension

Eden Hazard can start his first game for Chelsea in this season

Provisional squad: Courtois, Caballero, Rudiger, Alonso, Fabregas, Kante, Morata, Hazard, Pedro, Bakayoko, Moses, Kenedy, Musonda, Zappacosta, Willian, Batshuayi, Cahill, Christensen, Azpilicueta, Luiz, Clarke-Salter, Scott, Eduardo.


Francis Coquelin (hamstring) and Santi Cazorla (ankle) are out for this game.

Theo Walcott is a doubt after limping off against Koln in Europa League on Thursday night

– Petr Cech, Mesut Ozil, Laurent Koscielny and Alexandre Lacazette rested against the German side but will all return to the squad at Stamford Bridge.

Provisional squad: Cech, Ospina, Mertesacker, Holding, Koscielny, Monreal, Mustafi, Bellerin, Nelson, Kolasinac, Ramsey, Wilshere, Coquelin, Xhaka, Elneny, Ozil, Giroud, Walcott, Sanchez, Iwobi, Welbeck, Lacazette.


Possible Line-Ups

CHELSEA – Courtois; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Rudiger; Zappacosta, Kante, Bakayoko, Fabregas, Marcos Alonso; Morata, Pedro.

ARSENAL – Cech; Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Bellerin, Xhaka, Ramsey, Kolasinac; Sanchez, Ozil, Lacazette.


Little Stats

In the previous 191 matches Chelsea won 62, drew 54 , lost 75


Kick Off

1.30 pm BST


Stamford Bridge, London, UK


Michael Oliver


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Eden Hazard is back after recovering from an ankle injury.

Antonio Conte has no injury concerns for the game at Leicester.

– Former Foxes midfielder Danny Drinkwater, who signed for Chelsea on transfer window deadline day just ten days ago, is fit to face his ex team at King Power Stadium.

– New Chelsea signing Davide Zappacosta, signed on deadline day as well, can make his official debut for the Blues today.


Leicester City

– Robert Huth (ankle) and Vicente Iborra (groin) are both back in training after injury but today’s match will come too soon for both players.

-Leicester could include new signing Aleksandar Dragovic in their squad. The 26-year-old defender joined the club on a season-long loan from Bayer Leverkusen on deadline day.



Leicester City: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Maguire, Fuchs, Mahrez, James, Silva, Albrighton, Okazaki, Vardy

Chelsea: Courtois; Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Cahill, Zappacosta, Kante, Fabregas, Marcos Alonso; Willian, Morata, Pedro.

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Cesc Fabregas is back after his suspension against Spurs and will probably start

Gary Cahill still suspended

– 50/50 possibility to start both for Fabregas and Tiemoué Bakayoko: the Frenchman impressed against Tottenham last Sunday

– 50/50 possibility to start both for Alvaro Morata and Michy Batshuayi

– Eden Hazard out, still recovering from his broken ankle



Morgan Scheinderlin is suspended

Ross Barkley out injured ( hamstring) amid Spurs and Chelsea speculations

– Both Idrissa Gueye and Sandro Ramirez are doubt: Gueye missed Thursday’s win over Hajduk Split as a precaution with a hamstring problem, while Sandro has got a heel issue

Davy Klaasen has been ruled out for a foot problem

James McCarthy, Ramiro Funes Mori, Yannick Bolasie all out with knee problems

Seamus Coleman out with a broken leg



  • Chelsea have won seven of their last 10 Premier League meetings with Everton, including both in 2016-17 (W7 D1 L2).


  • Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 22 home Premier League games against Everton since a 1-0 loss in November 1994 (W12 D10). Only against Tottenham (25) are they on a longer unbeaten Premier League run at Stamford Bridge.


  • Indeed, this Everton run of 22 games without a victory at Chelsea is their longest away winless run at another club in the Premier League. Only against Leeds (36 games between 1953-2001) have they had a longer away run without a win in league history.


  • The Toffees have only lost one of their last 11 Premier League games against the reigning champions (W6 D4); a 1-0 defeat to Manchester City in December 2014.

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Ahead of a crucial clash like the one against Crystal Palace today, Chelsea boss Antonio Conte stressed again the importance to be focused just on title race and this end of the season and not to be distracted by transfer market rumours or other things that can decrease the team’s concentration in this very delicate part of the season:

The most important thing is to try to win the league. When the season finishes, myself and the club together will talk about the right way to try to improve the team and squad.

“It will be very important but I don’t see any problems because this club has great ambition, it has in the past and it will in the future. I’m very happy to be coach of this club.

“Now I think we are doing very well, every single player is giving me 120 per cent and it’s great. For sure, when the moment arrives to talk about next season, together we will look for the right solution to improve and be stronger than this season.”

About rumours of an Eden Hazard‘s Chelsea exit and a possible move to Real Madrid he said:

“I think in a situation it’s always very important to understand whether it’s just speculation or if it’s true. In this situation, what’s very important is the will of the player because if the player is happy and the player wants to stay at a great team with great ambition, I don’t see any problem.

“I think it’s very important to feel you are staying at the right place. When you arrive to be a top player then you want to fight to win, and to be competitive for every trophy. I think together we are building something important and we have just started our building work, we are putting the foundations in place. If we are able to win the league this season we are building an incredible path.’

On Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce, he claimed:

“I’m learning a lot when we play against English teams and English coaches, I’m finding new solutions in these type of games. I have great respect for English coaches and for me it’s been very important, I feel more complete.”


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Gary Cahill will captain Chelsea on the pitch again tonight at White Hart Lane.

The Blues centre-back revealed how Antonio Conte‘s side prepared the crucial derby against Spurs:

There is no reason why we as a squad and the manager and the staff should not feel confident going into the game.

“We are on a terrific run but we realise it is a game everyone is going to be speaking about, nothing changes there. It is a big game, we know what it is about, we have played in them before and we are looking for the same mentality.

“It is not because it is Tottenham that anything is going to change in our preparation, or the way we go about things. It is exactly the same and we expect the same from each player come kick-off time, and we will be okay.”

“I am bothered about the records,” the centre-back added.

“It is not something we have been speaking about, it is not like it is all week we say, ‘We want this record, we want this record,’ but we have just kept going and I think that is the right mentality to have.

“But being aware of the records and wanting to achieve them, there is nothing wrong with that.

“For sure I want to achieve records. We have achieved the Chelsea one and that is something we should be proud of in itself, and we have the chance to go on and achieve the league record, and every player wants to be part of records.

“I am not shy about saying that, but at the same time it is not something we speak about in the week.”

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Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe claims Chelsea won’t suffer Diego Costa and N’Golo Kante‘s absence in the Boxing Day clash, since the Blues got other men in the squad able to substitute them:

“Yes, Chelsea have a few suspended, but they have a very good squad and players of equal ability will come in,” Howe said while previewing the game with the press.

“I saw Cesc Fabregas come on against Crystal Palace and he was excellent, so it will be a very difficult game regardless of who plays.

“Every Premier League game was daunting for us when we were first promoted. Now we’re accustomed to the pressures of this league.” 

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Chelsea boss Antonio Conte spoke before Sunderland game, claiming he’s really excited about these upcoming five matches in Christmas period, an experience that he never had before.

Speaking about injuries updates he said:

“At the moment I don’t know, I am not sure, it’s important to check the situation today and see if we have all the players available, but I am not sure at the moment.”

The Italian manager was also asked about Cesar Azplicueta‘s fresh new deal with the Blues:

“I am really pleased for him: he always shows commitment, I like his availability to play in different roles, he is a good professional, I’m pleased for him, for the club, for the fans, because he is a good player.

“It was a good deal for us, for Chelsea: Azpi is very good player, he can play in different roles, I think it was a good deal for the club.”

Asked about the special challenge of playing five games in twenty-two days he said:

“This is a great challenge, for us, for our mentality, it’s important to give continuity and we all know that Sunderland is at the bottom of the table but you can see they are sixth in the table if u look at the last four games, so it’s important to be focused from the start of the game until the end.

“This is the first game of five in the Christmas period, I think we are ready for this, we worked very hard to face this period and now it’s important to start it in the right way.”

Conte was also asked if he sees his team as Premier League champions at the end of the year:

“If I must be honest no, not because I don’t trust my team, but because I know this league, to win you must put all yourself, it’s fantastic to have nine wins in a row, I hope to continue this, I hope to win the league, of course, but I am not sure.

The Italian coach was asked if he thinks that Chelsea are the favourites to win the title, as most of the pundits and people think in this moment:

“I think this opinion change very quickly, I don’t like this, you must have balance when u judge the situation, four months ago no one was thinking we could fight for the title or that we were ready to win it, we started the season with the same players and manager, I’m pleased that our work is paying off a lot, I thank my players for this every day.”

Diego Costa is on fire and Conte explained how he managed to bring him back to a top level, improving also his behaviour on the pitch:

“Diego is playing in a fantastic way, I am pleased for him, for Chelsea, for the fans, it’s very important that he’s showing his passion in the right way, he’s really focused on the game, on how to move, how to attack the space and he can still improve.

It was rumoured that Chelsea could not extend John Terry‘s contract for another year, this is what Conte had to day about that:

“John is our captain and I think he’s doing a great job, both when he is playing or not, he is helping me a lot in the changing room, he loves this club but now it’s important to be focused on the present.

“I’m getting to know John very well in this period, and I am really pleased to know also the man, not only the player, he’s a real important player for us, both when he plays or not. I hope to have him available to play, he’s traveling with us every game, to give the right message, I think this is very positive.

“I think now it’s better to be focused on the present, I don’t like to look so forward, I’m sure John can do more roles in football, but now he can still play and we must focus on that.”

A Chelsea spokesman then intervened to say that it’s still soon to speak about this kind contract extension and that John Terry’s deal wil be discussed later like it was done in the previous years.

Also Cesc Fabregas was set to leave Chelsea, according to speculations, but the Italian boss keeps saying he is a really important player for the club:

“In my opinion Cesc is an important player for us, he played very well in the last two games, I haven’t decided yet the starting XI for tomorrow but he’s always a good choice for me, he’s in our squad, this is the current reality.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek barely saw the pitch in the beginning of this season, and Conte was asked why the English midfielder didn’t get a chance until now:

“I am sure Ruben has got a great potential, I think it’s important to show this, he can improve a lot in different aspects, he’s got a few injuries in this season, I count on him, there will be the moment I will speak to the club to take the best decision, but I count on him.

Kenedy returned from his loan spell at Watford before the end of the deal and the Blues boss explained why:

“He wasn’t playing with Watford, so we guess the best decision was to take him back, to stay with us and train with us: he will stay here one month and then we will value, maybe he will go on loan again.

Conte never experienced football in Christmas period, and this a new challenge for him, that looks really enthusiastic about it:

“This a new experience for me and my family, I think it’s fantastic to have this experience, to play in the Christmas period: in the past I’ve always watched these games on tv – as I was on a break with my family during this period – but now it’s fantastic to live it.”

Yesterday Cristiano Ronaldo won the fourth Ballon d’Or of his career, a prize that for Conte is well deserved:

“We,ll it’s not the first time he won it, I think he deserved it, it’s the fourth one, Messi and him are dividing these awards in these years but I am sure in the future good players to win them will come up.

“I hope a Chelsea player can win it under me, that would mean we have fantastic players, so I hope we win it in the future.”

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Former Chelsea and WBA goalkeeper Tony Godden spoke to the Blues official website ahead of tomorrow’s clash at Stamford Bridge, where the teams will face each other:

West Brom are doing well and I am glad they stuck with Tony Pulis,”

“He is a very thorough and knowledgeable man and a good coach.

Speaking about the two keeper he stated:

 “Thibaut Courtois and Ben Foster are excellent. They make saves.

“You hear managers saying they want keepers who can control a ball and pass 30 yards and it makes me smile because my question is can he make saves, because that is how he is going to win you a game.

“These two are keepers that win points for their clubs.”

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Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson provided his prediction of Chelsea v West Bromwich.

The Blues will try to get their ninth win in a row against the Birmingham side next Sunday at Stamford Bridge, and this is what Merson predicted:

West Brom have done brilliantly so far, but it’s a big ask at Stamford Bridge. They will keep it tight, make it difficult and wait for set-pieces.

 Who could have seen them being a point behind Manchester United in early December? What an achievement.

As for Chelsea, they have some very winnable games over Christmas and if they keep this run going, they could be hard to catch.

His predicted score is 2-0 for Chelsea.

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Chelsea players celebrating Diego Costa's goal against Everton back in November © Francesca Ceciarini

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte spoke ahead of top of the league clash against Manchester City, that will be played tomorrow at the Etihad.

The Italian coach was asked first if there are injury news:

“Not at the moment, we have to check the physical condition of a couple of players, I prefer to keep their names secret.”

Changes to the starting XI?

“I think these players deserve to play and start, I can change but I am pleased about like the players are performing, there is the right atmosphere in the squad.

“Tomorrow it’s a really tough game, it’s a great test for us, for our team, we know that it won’t be easy, because we face a really great team, that play good football, good organization, tomorrow it’s another step to show us if something is changing since the start of the season.

“It’s one of the big games of the season, we’ve already played Spurs, Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal but in this league every game is a big game, this league is very tough, it’s fantastic to play games like this, I’m looking forward for it.

Asked if he’s ever played against Guardiola he said:

“I’ve never played against Pep, I’ve got a great respect for him, I study football and he’s a fantastic manager, he’s doing a fantastic work with Man City and when you see the team you can recognize his football idea, his style.

Conte was then asked if he thought that Chelsea offloaded De Bruyne too quickly, but the Italian manager dribbled the question really easily:

De Bruyne played for Chelsea but now he is at Manchester City: he is a fantastic player, I wish the best for him, after this game, of course.

Gareth Southgate was unveiled as the new permanent England coach and Chelsea coach Steve Holland appears in his staff, since he’s been working with Southgate for years also in England youth national teams.

This situation can change Holland’s future, since the English coach could interrupt his contract with Chelsea:

Steve Holland is one of my assistant coaches and he’s working very well,” Conte said about him.

“He’s been working for the club for many years, I am happy for his commitment and work, he is helping me a lot, then I don’t know his future.

“If I spoke to him? I speak with him every day [he joked] every day we speak about tactical situations.”

Chelsea were outplayed by Spurs in last Saturday’s game at Stamford Bridge and Conte was asked if he was worried about that first half in the derby:

“The first half [against Spurs] was really difficult, we studied a lot that first half, I showed the players the situations to improve in the future, but it’s important also to not forget Tottenham are a top team, with a great manager and a great squad, they were second in the last league and now they are 7 points behind, so this a great achievement for us. I showed the first half and we learnt a lot about it, if we played them in the same time we played Liverpool or Arsenal we would have lost that game for sure.

Diego Costa is back at his top form: in this season he’s already scored 10 goals and gave 4 assists in 13 appearances:

“I’m pleased for Diego Costa, because he shows great passion, this moment is fantastic for him, for his team-mates, it’s also important to speak positive about him, I think he plays very well and his attitude and behavior are fantastic.

Chelsea conceded a goal after six consecutive clean sheets only in last match against Tottenham:

“We conceded a goal in the last game but we didn’t concede a chance to score another goal, we have to continue this way, to be solid, tomorrow it’s an important test for our solidity.

Conte also commented the kind of work Pep Guardiola is doing at Manchester City:

“Guardiola is a doing a great job, I think he found a good situation in Manchester City, two director worked with him in Barcelona, so he found the right situation to express his idea of football very quickly, when I see them playing I see an idea of football, I like this, for me Pep is doing a great job.

“I don’t remember if we played against each other when Pep was in Italy,” Conte revealed.

“As a player he was more like a pivot, I was more offensive, with penetration, I was running more, but he was thinking more, I think we were two players that won a lot and also lost a lot.

“I think every team got their own characteristics, my idea, for instance, it’s more to go straight to the goal, I am not a coach fond of possession, but there are many ideas to play and I respect the idea of every manager. “


  Chelsea secured third place on the Premier League table as Maurizio Sarri's men end up the season with a goalless draw at King Power...