Chelsea without Drinkwater for Qarabag visit


Danny Drinkwater will miss Chelsea's Champions League opener against Qarabag with Eden Hazard set to be on the bench.

The Blues welcome the champions of Azerbaijan on Tuesday with boss Antonio Conte having admitted he will rotate his squad in the wake of Saturday’s clash at Leicester City.

Andreas Christensen, Davide Zappacosta, Michy Batshuayi and Charly Musonda could all be in line to feature from the start, while club captain Gary Cahill will be back after missing the last three matches serving a domestic ban.

Midfielder Drinkwater (calf) is unavailable with the full extent of his injury sustained in training on Sunday still to be determined.

Playmaker Hazard is likely to continue as a substitute after only recently returning from a broken ankle, the Belgian having stepped off the bench for the latter stages of the win over Leicester.

Cahill says the Blues can not wait to get back to Champions League action after a one year absence, believing the club deserve to be competing with Europe’s elite.

“We feel we’re back where we belong, which is among some of the very best teams,” said Cahill.

“In the Champions League we are starting a path and it will be very important to start building something important.

“To win a competition, you need to work very hard, to improve over years and to grow step by step and to become like Real Madrid or Bayern Munich… Juventus are the same now.

“You don’t create a big strong team easily.”


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