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Antonio Conte has admitted he does not know when Danny Drinkwater will play again after the Chelsea midfielder suffered a major injury setback.
Drinkwater has yet to make his Chelsea debut after his £35m deadline day move from Leicester because of a calf injury suffered in training.
Chelsea boss Conte was desperate for Drinkwater to bolster his squad but now does not when he will return.
Conte said: “He had a muscular problem in his calf. I think it’s very difficult to see him before the international break. He needs time to recover.
“It’s a pity because he was starting to work and to improve his physical condition. Now we have to move all these situations. And in two, three weeks, four weeks, I don’t know.”
Conte has had better news on fit-again Eden Hazard and expects him to be ready to face Arsenal on Sunday.
“About Eden, for sure he’s improving,” said Conte. “To have this type of patience for him is paying off. He’s very close to be totally fit. We have to continue in this way. Don’t forget I have to make the best decision for the team, for the players.
“But I think he’s improving a lot and he’s very close to be 100 per cent fit. For Gary, Cahill, he came back against Qarabag and I think he played very well, a good performance. I’m pleased for him. I have another day to reflect and then to make the best decision for Sunday.”
Conte has warned that Arsenal will be a major test despite their indifferent start to the Premier League campaign.
Conte added: “I think Arsenal is one of the six top teams in England. And I think they have a really good squad to fight for something important – the title in England, for sure.
“For this reason I think it’s a massive game for us. It’s the same when you play against City, against Liverpool, United, Tottenham. In England there are six top teams and when you play against one of them it’s always a massive game. We have to fight and play a game against a rival.”