Chelsea will be out to bounce back from their defeat to Newcastle when they welcome Hull City to Stamford Bridge, with latest odds suggesting they should have no problems disposing of Steve Bruce’s side.
The Blues surrendered the only unbeaten record in professional English football last time out as they went down 2-1 to the Magpies at St James’ Park. The result was compounded even further with a yellow card for Cesc Fabregas which rules him out of the clash with the Tigers.
With Fabregas out, creative responsibilities will fall on the more than capable Oscar and Eden Hazard however the return of Nemanja Matic following suspension will boost the Blues midfield ranks.
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Diego Costa is set to start up front after coming through 90 minutes in the midweek Champions league win over Maribor. The Spanish International has struggled with persistent hamstring trouble this season however his manager, Jose Mourinho, was pleased with his midweek performance.
“He wants to improve his condition,” explained Mourinho. “The confidence is not high, the condition is not the best but he wants to use the game [against Sporting] to chase lots of runs and movements, always wanting the ball, always wanting to associate with the wingers and with [Cesc] Fabregas.
“[It was] very important for him. I saw him better than against Newcastle, better than against Sunderland. This game was important for him.”
Hull for their part have struggled of late and dropped into the bottom three following a 0-0 draw with West Brom in their last outing.
Manager Steve Bruce hopes to have Nikica Jelavic available after the forward was restricted to a role from the bench against WBA through illness.
Curtis Davies could feature while Gaston Ramirez is suspended.
The Tigers have not won in the league since beating Crystal Palace in October although much of their recent form can be down to a tough fixture list following clashes with Arsenal, Liverpool, Southampton, Manchester United, Spurs and Everton.