Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink has confirmed that both Eden Hazard and Diego Costa are available for the London derby against Arsenal on Sunday (24 January). The Dutch boss, nevertheless, said that the Belgium international may not be ready to play the full 90 minutes following a long spell on the sidelines.
Hazard has been out of action since he picked up a knock during the 3-0 win at Selhurst Park on 3 January, missing the FA Cup victory over Scunthorpe United and as well the Premier League homes draws with West Bromwich Albion and Everton. Hiddink said that the Belgian is back available but suggested he does't want to take any risks with him. The Belgian was injured just before Christmas during Jose Mourinho's last game in charge at Leicester City.
"He was well-prepared by the physios until two days ago when he started participating in training," the boss said during the press conference ahead of the trip to Arsenal. "Today and yesterday he was in full commitment with first team training so he is available."
"I am not sure whether he can play a full 90 minutes yet so we have to consider in the upcoming hours whether he will start or come on. We will decide on game day. In the last two days he was in full training. He's available. We have to be careful as he's fallen into injuries recently. I'm not sure whether he can play a full 90 minutes."
Costa, meanwhile, suffered a knock to his shin during the thrilling game against the Toffees, being replaced by Loic Remy after he had scored his fifth goal in five appearances for the Blues. Hiddink revealed after the game that the Spaniard went to hospital to assess the issue just after the game, but earlier this week the club played it down, revealing he had avoided a fracture,
A statement on the Chelsea website read: "Scans have shown the injury he suffered was a bruise to his tibia in his shin and not a fracture. It is not known yet whether he will miss the Arsenal game."
The manager has now confirmed that the in-form striker has not trained much during the week but still will be available for the crucial visit to the Emirates Stadium. Asked whether the Spaniard has been managed to train with the rest of his team-mates during the week, he said: "Not much but he was in yesterday and in today and he will be available as well."
"In the latest games he was of big worth to us. The focus is on where he's good at. We can make no guarantees because we are not dealing with machines. When he's focusing on things in the box then he's of great value."
The Dutch boss hopes the return of the duo will help the team to back to winning ways at Arsenal, as his team still sit 14th in the Premier League table, 19 points behind the leaders.
"Everyone knows where we were in December," he said. "So far we are unbeaten but we cannot be fully satisfied with results. My main task is to get the team to where we desperately want to be. I'm focused on that job."