Eden Hazard believes our intense fixture schedule of late could work in our favour when we welcome West Ham United to Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon, particularly early on in the game.
The Blues face our London rivals in a clash which sees both sides equally in need of the three points, albeit for different reasons.
Chelsea have played on three separate occasions since Sam Allardyce’s side were last in action, most recently last night against Steaua Bucharest in the Europa League, with the in-form Hazard acknowledging such a statistic could play a part.
‘It might favour us at the start of the game because we should be able to set the tempo and get into our stride quicker because we’ve been more used to playing competitive games recently,’ he tells the official Chelsea website.
‘But where it might favour them slightly is the fact that towards the end of the game tiredness may set in for us, while in effect they should be stronger because they’ve had a bit of a rest.
‘It’s something we have to deal with, and with the support of our fans behind us I’m sure we will be able to because three points are a must for us on Sunday, we need to win the match.’
The corresponding fixture at Upton Park back in December saw the home side run out 3-1 winners after we’d gone in at the break 1-0 up courtesy of a Juan Mata strike.
In truth, we should have had the points wrapped up by half-time as chance after chance went begging, and Hazard hopes we have learnt from that disappointing afternoon in east London.
‘At Upton Park, one or two errors crept in, particularly during the second half, but we were very good in the first half,’ he explains.
‘We need to try to repeat that first-half display on Sunday and make sure we get a positive result. We are going into the game in good form, so we should be able to produce a strong performance.’
Having starred in last night’s 3-1 win over Steaua Bucharest, a result which saw us win the tie 3-2 on aggregate, the Belgian went on to share his thoughts on the draw for the Europa League quarter-finals, which paired us with Russian side Rubin Kazan, with the first leg to be played at the Bridge.
‘Being totally honest, from a geographical point of view we probably would have preferred a different draw,’ says Hazard. ‘We have to get through and playing in Russia is never an easy game.
‘However, we have to make sure we do enough in the first leg to go over there and secure our place in the semi-finals.’
Chelsea TV’s Pre-match at the Bridge is exclusively free to view on Sky 421 (UK only) so make sure you tune in from 3pm. The show will include interviews with Rafael Benitez and first team players, as well as highlights from our Under-18s’ game against Everton.