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Chelsea Team news: Injuries, suspensions and line-up vs Cardiff

4:00 pm AEST 15/9/18
Eden Hazard
The Blues are being talked about as title contenders again, as they prepare for the arrival of a newly promoted team to west London

Chelsea have had the perfect start to their season with four wins in their last four games as they prepare to welcome on Cardiff City to Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

The Blues have taken to Maurizio Sarri's methods quickly, after he joined in the summer to replace Antonio Conte as the club's head coach.

Cardiff have yet to win in the Premier League after gaining automatic promotion last season and Neil Warnock's side have found it hard upon their arrival, earning just two points from their first four games.

Chelsea injuries

Cesc Fabregas is is closing in on a return from what Sarri describes as an 'unusual injury' from just below his knee. His return has been drastically stepped up since before the international break, as he began running and ball work early this week.

He was injured in a pre-season game against Arsenal two months ago and aggravated the same injury in the Community Shield against Manchester City.

However, Ruben Loftus-Cheek is one player who returned back from the international break injured. Davide Zappacosta and Emerson Palmieri are both also doubtful with knocks.

All of Chelsea's other first-team players have returned back from the international break unscathed, although they will need to be assessed for fatigue by Sarri. PSV loan star Marco van Ginkel is back at Chelsea, but he has torn his anterior cruciate ligament and is unlikely to play any part this season.

Charly Musonda is also back at Cobham, after injuring his shin in a friendly match with Vitesse.

Chelsea suspensions

Chelsea have no suspensions to contend with ahead of kick off.

Chelsea potential starting line-up

Sarri seems to have settled on his first-team line up and his favoured system quickly at Chelsea, as he has left it to the players to adapt to his brand of attacking football.

Eden Hazard, Willian and Pedro have jostled for places at the start of the season, while Ross Barkley's place seems to have been taken by Mateo Kovacic, after he started the season in midfield.

His likely line up will be similar to the one that faced Bournemouth ahead of the international break, but Sarri faces the challenge of two games a week coming into play in September. Chelsea will be in the Europa League and there may be increased chances for a host of fringe players.

Cardiff team news

Aron Gunnarsson is set for a return for Cardiff which will be a huge boost to the Bluebirds. Nathaniel Mendez-Laing is out for three months after suffering a knee injury against Huddersfield.

Josh Murphy is the only other doubt, as he recovers from a knock.

TV channel & kick-off time

The game kicks off at 3pm BST (10am ET) on Saturday and it will not be shown on TV in the United Kingdom.

Best Opta match facts

  • Chelsea have won 10 of their last 12 league meetings with Cardiff (D1 L1), including both previous Premier League meetings in the 2013-14 campaign.

  • Chelsea have lost just one of their last 51 home Premier League games against newly promoted opposition (W42 D8 L1), with that defeat coming against Bournemouth in December 2015.

  • Chelsea have won each of their opening four Premier League games to a season for the sixth time (also 2004-05, 2005-06, 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2014-15), at least twice more than any other side in the competition's history.

  • Neil Warnock is without a win in 10 Premier League games (W0 D5 L5) – he has never gone 11 consecutive Premier League matches without victory.

  • Chelsea have attempted (2996) and completed (2677) more passes than any other team in the Premier League in 2018-19.

  • Chelsea attacker Pedro, who could make his 100th Premier League appearance in this match, has scored three goals his last four league games, as many as in his previous 26 combined.