Chelsea ace Eden Hazard must play against Qarabag tonight in the Champions League — so he can reach peak fitness for testing times ahead.

That’s the verdict of former Blues winger Pat Nevin, who believes the jet-heeled Belgian can be instrumental in securing success for Antonio Conte’s side.

After the game against the Azerbaijani side, Chelsea host Arsenal then go to Stoke (with a League Cup tie at home to Nottingham Forest in between) before going to Atletico Madrid.

Then to round of September’s fixtures, Manchester City head for Stamford Bridge in an eagerly anticipated top flight encounter.

And Nevin, who made 237 appearances for Chelsea scoring 45 goals, said: “I hope tonight will have another appearance by Hazard as well as Gary Cahill, because every single player will be needed and by the end of the month, Eden in particular could be back to his very best thank goodness.

“Arsenal will be ready and waiting by the weekend and this week underlines the scale of Antonio Conte’s job this month. There are seven games in September including Arsenal, Man City, Atletico Madrid and Stoke away, which is never easy, and all bookended by international weeks for the players. Now that is a hectic schedule!”

As for Qarabag, Nevin says he wanst Chelsea to flex their muscle and get the game out to bed early on. He added: “I would like to see this game tonight wrapped up early if possible with a goal or two in the first half.

“I expect this group to go to the wire so any opportunity to cruise just a little, even if it is only for 45 minutes or half an hour, could be vital in the long run.

“The league position is fine but considering the transfer window and the weird first game against Burnley, in an odd way it seems like the real meat of the season starts here. Fortunately the team looks hungry enough to do well.”