Chelsea have been dealt a major injury blow ahead of their trip to Old Trafford to face Manchester United on 28 December, as Cesc Fabregas will not feature in the game, which is crucial for both clubs. The midfielder has not travelled along with the squad and will be assessed before being given a final call on his return date.
According to The Telegraph, the Blues are awaiting news on the fitness of Eden Hazard, Loic Remy and Radamel Falcao, who are all doubtful for the game, a massive setback given the suspension handed to Diego Costa for accumulating five yellow cards. Fabregas was taken off at half-time against Watford on Boxing Day, with the management suggesting that the former Arsenal man had fever.
The midfielder was boo-ed off the pitch by fans who accused the Spaniard of not turning up under Jose Mourinho for the entirety of the season, which led to the Portuguese manager being sacked. Remy was left on the bench against Watford as he was carrying a knock while Hazard limped off after a challenge that led to a penalty.
Meanwhile, Guus Hiddink needs to get his players motivated for the game against United, who themselves are facing the prospect of having their manager Louis van Gaal sacked before the end of the season. The Dutchman is going through a turbulent period, having lost their last seven games in all competitions, including losing three on the bounce in the Premier League.
The Blues currently have 19 points, half of what leaders Leicester City have accrued. They are followed by Arsenal, who failed to overtake them following their loss to Southampton at the St Mary's stadium. A win here for Chelsea will help appease fans, but will add to United's misery most likely leading to Van Gaal's exit from Old Trafford.