Conte hails Hazard's strength

17 March 2017 11:15:21 EST

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte says he is delighted with the way Eden Hazard continues to deal with the physical challenge he faces from Premier League defences.

The Belgium international forward suffered a major dip in form last season, as the Blues struggled in the defence of their top-flight crown.

Hazard is a type of player that is very difficult to stop.

Eden Hazard

However, the summer arrival of Conte has seemingly rejuvenated Hazard, who has been a leading figure in the Blues establishing a more than healthy lead at the top of the table heading into the final couple of months of the season.

And Conte is full of praise for the mental attitude being shown by Hazard, telling reporters: "Eden is showing great football, but also great character and great personality in every game. He's growing a lot in this aspect.

"Hazard is a type of player that is very difficult to stop. People try to stop him in a good and bad way, but I'm not worried about this.

"Eden is very strong physically and he has showed me he is able to play in this league, which is very strong physically. He is not tall, but he is strong."

Hazard and Chelsea, who are ten points clear of the chasing pack, face a tough test of title credentials on Saturday when they head to the Potteries to take on Stoke City.

The meeting of the two sides at Stamford Bridge earlier this season ended in a 4-2 victory for the home side, although City twice came from a goal down to draw level, before finally being seen off by the Blues.

Chelsea are available at 7/10 to take all three points on Saturday, with Hazard 15/8 to score at any time and 11/2 to net the final goal of the game.

The hosts expect to have Marko Arnautovic, Xherdan Shaqiri and Wilfried Bony all available to play some part on Saturday, with Arnautovic likely to start after recovering from illness.

For the Blues, former Potters loanee Victor Moses is expected to overcome a calf problem to take his place at right wing-back.

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