Injured Hazard & key man unavailable as Chelsea host West Ham

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Chelsea will be without a number of key players when they play host to West Ham this weekend, with Eden Hazard and Diego Costa the most notable absentees, as reported by The Independent.

Costa is obviously unavailable after being banned against Everton, with the Brazilian born Spaniard sent off for a second bookable offense. There were fears of a lengthier ban after the striker appeared to bite Gareth Barry right before his sending off, but the Toffees midfielder did him a real favour by denying he was bitten (via the Daily Mail).

Hazard meanwhile, is suffering from a hip injury and won’t be back in time for Chelsea’s clash with Chelsea. While the Belgian has been far from his best this season, being without both players will be a real blow for Chelsea.

The Blues may be vastly improved under Guus Hiddink, but West Ham are having their best season in a long, long time. They are currently just two points behind Manchester City and battling for a Champions League spot, while Chelsea are way down in tenth.

The Hammers have looked more motivated under Slaven Bilic than they have in years, and the quality they have has surprised everyone. With Manchester City’s inconsistency this season it wouldn’t be that much of a surprise to see them drop below the London side, and a win over Chelsea would certainly go a long way towards helping their Champions League aspirations.

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Radamel Falcao is also expected to miss the game (via The Independent), while Alexandre Pato is yet to get his debut. Hiddink will probably have to decide between young Bertrand Traore and benchwarmer Loic Remy, but Costa would obviously be preferred over both.

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