Hazard, Kovacic start for Chelsea at Newcastle

Maurizio Sarri has handed a first Chelsea start to on-loan midfielder Mateo Kovacic, while Eden Hazard returns to face Newcastle United.

Chelsea star Eden Hazard   -  Getty Images

Eden Hazard will make his first start of the season for Chelsea away to Newcastle United, while Mateo Kovacic has been handed a full debut by Maurizio Sarri.

The Blues head coach indicated in his pre-match news conference that both players were ready to start, but would not be able to complete the full 90 minutes.

Belgium international Hazard has come off the bench in each of Chelsea's first two Premier League matches of 2018-19, with Sarri's side taking maximum points.

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Former Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez is without captain Jamaal Lascelles and star midfielder Jonjo Shelvey due to injury, though media reports have suggested the former has fallen out with the Spaniard.

Kenedy, after last weekend's disappointing performance in the 0-0 draw at Cardiff City that included failing to convert a late penalty, is ineligible to feature against his parent club.

Newcastle has won four of its last five home Premier League matches against Chelsea, which it beat 3-0 on the final day of the 2017-18 campaign.

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