There were several reasons why Chelsea’s visit to Manchester United on Sunday lacked a certain intensity as the Blues have played a lot of games this season and the home side have already wrapped up the Premier League title, but the absence of Eden Hazard was notable.
Luckily we won that game with a late goal when Juan Mata’s shot was deflected in by United defender Phil Jones but Wednesday’s clash against Tottenham will be a much more tense affair and Rafael Benitez is hopeful that Hazard, who provides that special spark, will be available for selection.
The Spanish manager explained that the Belgian had been suffering with a calf problem but may be back on Wednesday night:
“He could be available. The physios are working with him and he could be fit.
“He had a problem with his calf. He trained yesterday and we thought he was fine, but we didn’t want to take a risk with him.”
Hazard – along with Juan Mata – has been responsible for either scoring or creating the bulk of our goals this season and hopefully he’s back as we have some big games coming up, and Benitez will treat the match against Andre Villas-Boas’ Spurs side as a ‘final’ for a top four place.
“If we can win we will be there, but Tottenham are a good team and it will be a final for the top four.
“Winning is crucial for us. It’s even more important for them, so there will be a great atmosphere.
“We will try to win because we know it will guarantee a top-four finish. I don’t see more or less pressure for either team – I know we just need to win.”
If we do win then Spurs face the improbable task of bettering our +34 goal difference and they’re way behind with +18, that isn’t going to change much in just three games and they’ll be relying on Arsenal slipping up if they lose at Stamford Bridge.