OPINION | By Chelsea correspondent Tony Hughes
Eden Hazard should replace Oscar in the Chelsea team for Saturday’s Premier League clash against Newcastle.
The Belgian has been overlooked by Guus Hiddink for the last two matches against Manchester United and Watford despite being fully recovered from the groin injury that troubled him in January.
But Hazard should return to the side to give Chelsea more offensive power when they take on Steve McClaren’s team at Stamford Bridge this weekend.
Hiddink is likely to stick with his settled central midfield duo of John Obi Mikel and Nemanja Matic, with Cesc Fabregas pushed forward into the No10 role in which he is more effective.
With Diego Costa to spearhead the attack, that leaves places on the flanks for two of Willian, Hazard, Oscar and Pedro.
Willian has ensured he is one of the first names on the team-sheet with his performances this season, and he should be joined in the starting X1 by Hazard.
The Belgium international looked lively after replacing Oscar 10 minutes into the second half of last Sunday’s 1-1- draw against United even though he remains some way below the standard he set last season.
The left flank does not get the best from Oscar’s touch game, but is ideally suited to Hazard’s dribbling and forward bursts.
In other Chelsea team news, Gary Cahill is set for an extended spell alongside John Terry after Kurt Zouma torn his cruciate ligament last weekend.
Chelsea (strongest possible): Courtois; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Mikel, Matic; Willian, Fabregas, Hazard; Costa.