Chelsea's Eden Hazard, Tiemoue Bakayoko step up recoveries in friendly
Eden Hazard and Tiemoue Bakayoko took another step towards returning to full fitness by playing in a specially arranged friendly behind closed doors at Cobham on Thursday.
Chelsea beat Queens Park Rangers' under-20 team 8-0 in the match set up for Antonio Conte to assess the condition of his two biggest injury concerns, with Hazard scoring. Academy prospect Charly Musonda also found the net twice in a rout for the home side.
Last week Conte stated that there was no timeframe for Hazard or Bakayoko -- who both missed the entirety of Chelsea's preseason through injury -- to be available for selection, but their swift return to full training and involvement in Thursday's game raises the unlikely prospect that one or both could feature against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley on Sunday.
Conte's selection issues ahead of Spurs were exacerbated by red cards shown to captain Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas in Saturday's shock 3-2 defeat against Burnley, though Victor Moses is available again after serving the suspension he picked up for being dismissed in last season's FA Cup final.
Pedro Rodriguez is also an injury doubt for Chelsea after missing the Burnley game with an ankle knock, but despite sitting out training earlier this week hopes are high that the Spain international will be fit to face Tottenham.
Hazard has been sidelined since breaking his ankle on international duty with Belgium in June, while £40 million summer signing Bakayoko arrived at Chelsea from Monaco nursing a knee injury sustained in the final months of last season.
Belgium coach Roberto Martinez has already expressed an interest in calling up Hazard for World Cup qualifiers against Gibraltar and Greece later this month, but Chelsea are unlikely to want the 26-year-old to join up with his international teammates until he has played significant minutes for them.
Liam is ESPN FC's Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Liam_Twomey.