Chelsea stars Eden Hazard and Tiemoue Bakayoko have taken another step toward full fitness by returning to first-team training at Chelsea this week, although neither is likely to be fit enough to feature against Tottenham on Sunday.
Pictures emerged on Tuesday of both men participating in sessions at Cobham, while Bakayoko also posted about his return to training on Instagram.
Hazard missed the entirety of Chelsea’s preseason due to a broken ankle sustained while on international duty with Belgium in June, and a knee injury has delayed Bakayoko’s debut since arriving from Monaco in a £40 million deal.
The duo’s return to full training is a timely boost for head coach Antonio Conte, who is managing a crisis of numbers ahead of Sunday’s match against bitter rivals Tottenham at Wembley.
Pedro Rodriguez missed Saturday’s shock 3-2 defeat to Burnley at Stamford Bridge with an ankle knock, while captain Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas are both suspended for the Spurs game after being red carded.
Cahill will serve a three-match ban after sources told ESPN FC on Monday that Chelsea will not appeal against referee Craig Pawson’s decision to send off the England international for a dangerous lunge on Steven Defour.
Victor Moses is in line to return after his suspension, while David Luiz could be required to partner N’Golo Kante in central midfield.
Alvaro Morata is expected to start ahead of Michy Batshuayi up front after registering a goal and an assist as a second-half substitute against Burnley.