Sunday 25 February 2018

Fabregas determined to seize Chelsea chance

Chelsea's Cesc Fabregas. Photo: Dylan Martinez/Reuters
Chelsea's Cesc Fabregas. Photo: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

Matt Law

Cesc Fabregas will be given the chance to stake a claim for a place in Chelsea's first XI when he returns to the side for the League Cup tie at Leicester City tonight.

Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte will make a host of changes from the team who lost 2-1 to Liverpool on Friday night for the trip to the King Power Stadium.

Left-back Marcos Alonso is expected to be given his debut, while Fabregas will return to midfield.

Conte has said Fabregas is close to a recall and the player himself is desperate to win his place back and face his former club Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

Conte praised the Spaniard's attitude and performances in training, while the Stamford Bridge crowd gave the 29-year-old a warm reception when he came on as substitute against Liverpool.

Fabregas has not started a Premier League game under Conte, with the Italian so far preferring to go with Oscar, Nemanja Matic and N'Golo Kanté in midfield.

However, Fabregas showed his class with an assist for Diego Costa in the 2-1 victory over Watford last month after coming on.

He did start in the narrow League Cup victory over Bristol Rovers last month, but facing champions Leicester will give him a better chance of proving his worth to Conte.

Costa, who has scored three goals in his past two games, is poised to be rested ahead of facing Arsenal, with summer signing Michy Batshuayi taking over in attack.

Conte was unhappy with the way his team played against Liverpool and could make changes for the trip to Arsenal.

A strong performance from Alonso tonight may put pressure on Branislav Ivanovic, with the coach already considering moving left-back César Azpilicueta over to the right.

Elsewhere, Stoke boss Mark Hughes has been fined £8,000 after accepting a misconduct charge, in the wake of being sent to the stand during the 4-0 defeat to Tottenham 10 days ago.

Leicester City v Chelsea,

Live, Sky Sports 1, 7.45

Irish Independent

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