Chelsea captain Azpilicueta facing late fitness test for Saints clash

Cesar Azpilicueta faces a late fitness test ahead of Chelsea’s Boxing Day clash with Southampton at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues captain picked up a hamstring niggle in Sunday’s 2-0 derby win at Tottenham.

Reece James could slot in on the right of defence should Azpilicueta miss out.

Southampton are expected to be without striker Shane Long, who could miss the whole Christmas fixture schedule due to a knee injury sustained in last week’s win at Aston Villa.

Winger Moussa Djenepo (hamstring) and defender Yan Valery (infection) remain unavailable, but midfielder Pierre Hojbjerg has recovered after taking a bang on the knee at Villa and is expected to be fit.

Sofiane Boufal could return to contention after struggling with a toe injury sustained when he accidentally ran into his kitchen table at home last month and Kevin Danso has recovered from illness.

Chelsea provisional squad: Arrizabalaga, Zouma, Christensen, Rudiger, Tomori, Emerson, James, Azpilicueta, Alonso, Kovacic, Jorginho, Willian, Kante, Pulisic, Abraham, Hudson-Odoi, Mount, Batshuayi, Caballero, Gilmour, Barkley, Pedro, Giroud.

Southampton provisional squad: McCarthy, Stephens, Soares, Bertrand, Bednarek, Redmond, Ward-Prowse, Armstrong, Hojbjerg, Ings, Adams, Obafemi, Romeu, Boufal, Gunn, Vestergaard, Yoshida, Danso.

Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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