Antonio Conte set to rest Álvaro Morata and Eden Hazard against Qarabag

Gwen Vasquez
September 12, 2017

On Tuesday night, the club's love affair with the world's elite club competition will be reignited when Qarabag, the champions of Azerbaijan, travel to Stamford Bridge for the opening matchday of this year's group stage.

The Blues have the Premier League title in two of the past three seasons but lost 2-1 to north London rivals in the FA Cup back in May.

Deadline-day signing Danny Drinkwater is the only player to be a certain absentee from the squad, as he continues to recover from a calf injury, which prevented him from featuring against his former employers at the weekend.

Conte has comfirmed that Hazard will not be risked and will start on the bench.

"To play seven games in 21 days is not easy". For this reason there is the necessity to rotate and play game-by-game, " Antonio Conte said on Monday, September 11.

"That is most important and if he scores then I am very happy". He has a lot of space to improve, like N'Golo.

It is Chelsea's 15th time competing in the Champions League group stage. They were unfortunate to be runners up to Manchester United in 2008 following a penalty shootout despite being the better side overall and hitting the woodwork twice in the final. Their home ground, the Tofiq Bahramov Stadium in Baku has a capacity of 31,200.

But it was a far different story in the Champions League, where what should have been a fairly undemanded group turned into a four-month horror story for Conte.

The reigning Premier League champions will kick off at Leicester on Saturday in sixth place on six points, one spot below West Bromwich and one above Watford whilst Leicester are three points worse off and fifth from bottom after three games.

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"It was an fantastic performance from him".

"He scored but, overall, he made a lot of good runs". He will probably partner Fabregas in the midfield. To win such a competition there is a need to work very hard, but we must be proud to play in a competition like the Champions League. "And this season he is confirming it". Tiemoue Bakayoko is also handed a start.

But Conte is backing the Frenchman to hit his straps as the season wears on.

It meant back-to-back Premier League medals for the 26-year-old, who starred in Leicester City's unlikely march to glory in 2015-16. "Now he's very good also with the ball".

"Every player can improve".

"When you make decisions there is always a risk". As a group it'll be interesting to see how we get on.

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"I trust all the players in my squad".

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