Hazard set to return against Crystal Palace

Updated: 27/05/2023

Eden Hazard is set to return to action in time for this weekend's clash between Chelsea and Crystal Palace, according to Gianfranco Zola. The 27-year-old, who has been in red hot form since the start of the 2018/19 season, was forced to miss Chelsea's recent matches against BATE and Burnley with a back injury. He is also expected to sit out tonight's Carabao Cup clash with Derby County.

There has always been a suggestion that one day Eden Hazard would step up into the seemingly supernatural realms of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, and judging by his exploits over the last few months, that day is closer than ever. Hazard has been exceptional for Chelsea this season, scoring eight goals and providing three assists across 11 matches, and emerging as the focal point of Maurizio Sarri's revamped squad.

When it was announced that Hazard had suffered a back injury during Chelsea's recent 2-2 draw with Manchester United, fans initially feared the worst, but any uncertainty over the Belgian's fitness has now been put to bed by assistant coach Gianfranco Zola, who has hinted that Hazard could be fit enough to feature in this weekend's Premier League clash between the Blues and Crystal Palace.

“He (Hazard) is certainly much better,” said Zola. “I'm not sure today but tomorrow (Wednesday) he is going to be joining us in training.

“I don't think he's going to be involved in the game tomorrow but he is looking quite good for the weekend.

“We are pleased because he is such an important player for us.”

Zola is currently preparing for Chelsea's Carabao Cup fixture against Derby County, which will see Derby boss Frank Lampard return to Stamford Bridge for the first time since embarking on a career in management. Derby caused a huge upset in the last round of cup fixtures, beating Manchester United via a penalty shootout.

“It's no surprise for me that he is doing well in his new role in football because he's always had a great attitude towards the game and towards what has to be done to become good in this game,” said Zola.

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