Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has claimed Diego Costa may be ready to return to action for the crucial London derby against Arsenal on Sunday, 26 April, as the recovery from his hamstring injury is going better than expected.
After the Spanish international striker had a recurrence of his hamstring problems during the 2-1 win over Stoke City on 4 April, he missed the 1-0 victory over QPR last weekend and Mourinho said he will struggle to return before the visit of Crystal Palace on 3 May - meaning he was expected to miss the crucial Premier League clashes against Manchester United and Arsenal, as well the visit to Leicester.
"I don't know when (Costa will return), but we have eight matches to play. If he plays four it's normal. Three is a little bit below what I'm expecting. If he plays five it is more than I am expecting, so I am thinking about four matches to play," Mourinho said before the game against QPR.
But speaking ahead of the Saturday's game against United, the Portuguese boss has now claimed that Costa remains on the sidelines for the clash but could return earlier than expected for the trip to the Emirates Stadium on 26 April.
"Diego is progressing very well, I think he has a chance for the next weekend. Our target was for him to play the last four matches. Arsenal is the sixth from the end, so if he doesn't play against Arsenal or Leicester, it is not a problem because we were always focussing on the last four. But things are going so well he has a chance [to face Arsenal]. He's training, he starts training with the rest of the squad next week."
Meanwhile, Loic Remy is going to be ready for the game against the Gunners, although Mourinho said he is still a doubt for Saturday's game with United.
"He has a chance [to play against United]," said the boss. Asked if that chance was better than 50-50, he said: "Yes."
The France international pulled out of the previous game at Loftus Road after being expected to replace injured Diego Costa, forcing veteran Didier Drogba to play the 90 minutes in the 1-0 victory over QPR.