Kevin De Bruyne is poised to return to action as champions Manchester City host Burnley in the Premier League on Saturday.
The Belgium playmaker has not featured since suffering a knee injury in August but returned to training before the recent international break.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference, manager Pep Guardiola said: “I don’t know if he is able to play 90 minutes but he has trained well in the last two weeks without pain.
“He is ready to be part of the group.”
The 27-year-old Belgium playmaker has spoken of his daily quandary over his future, whether to extend his Chelsea contract which expires in June 2020, or seek a “dream” move to Real.
And his sparkling form helping Belgium finish third at the World Cup and in starting the Premier League season with seven goals in eight starts and two substitute appearances has highlighted the issue of his future.
“I can finish with Chelsea,” Hazard told Sky Sports ahead of the weekend meeting with Manchester United.
“No problem at all. I am very happy with this club, with the team, my family is happy here. So If I don’t go to Spain, it is not a problem.
“I love the fans – I think the fans love me. What happens in the future, I will be happy, so that’s it.”
Hazard joined Chelsea from Lille in June 2012 and signed his current contract in February 2015.
He has appeared to rule out a January switch to Madrid in one of many public pronouncements on the situation in the October international break, comments which were perhaps designed to gauge whether Real’s reported interest is genuine.
If no contract extension is agreed by the end of this season, Chelsea could risk Hazard leaving on a free transfer the following summer so could look to cash in on him.
Jose Mourinho returns to Chelsea on Saturday facing a side markedly different from the ones which handed their former manager defeats in each of his previous three visits to Stamford Bridge as Manchester United manager.
Here’s a look at the key tactical talking points ahead of the first-ever meeting between these two managers.
SARRI-BALL MEETS MOURINHO’S WALL
Chelsea’s last big game, against Liverpool, was billed as a clash of identical styles. Saturday’s game couldn’t be more different.
Sarri’s side have faced defensive teams already this season, but none will quite have had Mourinho’s bloody-mindedness, even if United have been letting their manager down defensively so far in this campaign.
So Chelsea’s press will be negated by United letting their hosts have the ball, and while Sarri’s side are also good in possession, they’ll be tasked with breaking down a side sitting deep and putting up a wall in front of goal.
Mourinho may well play six defenders, as he once did successfully against Chelsea by drafting in Juan Mata as an auxiliary right-back. Is the Sarri-ball Chelsea up to the task?
HAZARD AND THE MAN-MARKING QUESTION
The answer to that question will depend on Eden Hazard. He was the star of the show in his last outing against Mourinho’s United, last season’s FA Cup final, but on two previous occasions his former manager has stymied him by assigning a player to man-mark the Belgian.
It was Ander Herrera in a 2-0 United win during the 2016-17 season, and Scott McTominay in another United success back in February. Both times, Hazard seemed oddly flummoxed, as if he had no idea how to shake off the attentions of a man-marker.
The 28-year-old has since developed into one of the world’s best, a Ballon d’Or nominee. If Mourinho adopts the same tactic against him again, Hazard will have to show he’s learned his lessons from previous failures.
KANTE THE SQUARE PEG IN ROUND HOLE
Chelsea have another Ballon d’Or nominee in their ranks, but N’Golo Kante hasn’t looked like the same player since Jorginho arrived at Stamford Bridge along with Sarri.
The new manager has immense faith in the Brazil-born Italian, giving him Kante’s berth in midfield and shifting one of the best defensive midfielders in the world into a more attacking role.
While Kante’s compatriot and opponent on Saturday, Paul Pogba, craves more freedom at United, the Chelsea man has the exact opposite complaint – it’s almost as if Kante has too much freedom in his new role, and doesn’t know what to do with it.
Jorginho has been in fine form, but it’s come at the cost of making Kante less effective. Will that hand United an advantage?