Eden Hazard could make first start when Chelsea face Forest

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Chelsea fans may finally see the Belgium international start a game in 2017-18 against Nottingham Forest, Antonio Conte has revealed

Antonio Conte has suggested he is ready to give Eden Hazard his first club start of the season when Chelsea take on Nottingham Forest in the EFL Cup on Wednesday.

Chelsea 6/1 to win the Carabao Cup

The winger's preparations for 2017-18 were heavily disrupted by a broken ankle suffered while on international duty back in June.

Hazard has been steadily working his way back and the 20-minute appearance off the substitutes' bench in Sunday's 0-0 draw against Arsenal at Stamford Bridge was his third for Chelsea this season.

He has also played in two games, one of which was a start, for Belgium in World Cup qualifying this season and Conte is set to play him from the start for the third-round tie at Stamford Bridge, after which he feels the 26-year-old will be back at 100 per cent.

"The last 20 minutes, Hazard played very well," Blues boss Conte told reporters after the Arsenal clash.

"Now, on Wednesday, he will have the possibility to start the game against Nottingham Forest and complete his recovery. We hope that everything is OK after this game."

Meanwhile, Conte hopes Pedro, who came off at half-time against Arsenal due to an ankle injury, does not have a serious issue. 

Pedro Chelsea 091717

Pedro had earlier gone down for treatment after a challenge with Nacho Monreal. He later missed a first-half opportunity to break the deadlock when he was denied one-on-one by Petr Cech. 

Conte introduced midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko in place of the former Barcelona forward at the break.

Pedro has now suffered three injuries in quick succession against Arsenal. First, he suffered a concussion and facial fractures after a pre-season collision with Gunners goalkeeper David Ospina in China.

The 30-year-old then missed the first league game of the season against Burnley due to another ankle injury he had suffered prior to being sent off in the Community Shield against Arsenal last month.

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"After the first half Pedro was a bit injured because he had a kick on his ankle and then I change it, tried to have more balance in the midfield," Conte said after the match.

"Pedro took a knock to his ankle and wasn't 100 per cent fit. For this reason, I decided to make a substitution in the second half. 

"We have to check with the doctor, but I hope this problem is not serious. We lost Pedro against Arsenal in China as well."

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