Hazard, Kante and Giroud set to miss Chelsea’s season opener

Updated: August 8, 2018

World Cup winners N’Golo Kante and Olivier Giroud have spent little time working with the new head coach, who succeeded fellow Italian Antonio Conte at Stamford Bridge.

Star winger Eden Hazard is another key man to have played little part in pre-season, having been given time off after he inspired Belgium to reach the semi-finals at Russia 2018.

Maurizio Sarri is unlikely to select Chelsea’s World Cup stars for his first Premier League game in charge away to Huddersfield Town on Saturday.

Kante, Giroud and Hazard came off the bench in the second half of a 0-0 draw against Lyon in the International Champions Cup on Tuesday, but Sarri feels it is too soon for them to play a competitive game.

“They arrived yesterday or the day before,” Sarri told reporters after Chelsea beat Lyon 5-4 on penalties, Hazard scoring the winning spot-kick after Rob Green denied Pape Diop.

“It was better for them to play 25 minutes than to have a training session alone with the physical coach. They have to work, obviously.

“I’m very happy. I can work with all my players for the first time tomorrow, so we have only three days to prepare for the next match. And the next match will be very important. Very, very, very important.”

Asked directly if it would be difficult for the trio to face Huddersfield, Sarri said: “Yes, I think so. Especially all together.”

Ezekiel Azure Zion is a sports writer and a blogger who loves what he does.

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