Chelsea are sweating on the fitness of Eden Hazard after the Belgium international appeared to injure his ankle in the closing stages of Monday night’s 2-0 victory over Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium.
Hazard, who was on the receiving end of several fierce challenges throughout the match, limped off in stoppage time following a tangle with Jonathan Walters.
And there are now concerns that Hazard - arguably Chelsea’s best player this season - could miss the Boxing Day fixture against West Ham at Stamford Bridge.
Hazard in form
The 23-year-old produced another excellent performance against the Potters, registering his fourth assist of the season in the process, but his manager Jose Mourinho was infuriated with one particular tackle on his prized asset.
A hefty challenge from Phil Bardsley only resulted in the Stoke City defender picking up a yellow card from referee Neil Swarbrick, but Mourinho felt it was worthy of a straight red.
Mourinho blasts tackle
"From my position and in a flash, it looks for me a red card, but I don't know," he told reporters in his post-match press conference. "What I know is that if it was a bad tackle, it was the only one.
"The game was clean, it was good. The game was aggressive but it was good. The referee kept the game under control and the players were fair.
"There were good fights, physicality, lots of duels but the game was clean and if it was a red card it was an isolated action."
Chelsea march on
Chelsea took the lead after two minutes courtesy of John Terry, who powered home a Cesc Fabregas corner. Fabregas then went from provider to goalscorer in the second half, producing a composed finish to score from Hazard’s pass.
Monday night’s result keeps Mourinho’s men three points clear of second-placed Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table.
But next up they face the in-form West Ham, who currently sit fourth in the table and are unbeaten in five matches. With or without Hazard, Chelsea will be expected to take all three points from the match. But their task will be made all the harder without their magical Belgian winger.