Conte`s Temporary Return To A 3-4-3
Chelsea head to Azerbaijan for the penultimate Champions League group game against Qarabag. Following two very average performances against Roma in the previous two matchdays, this game has become a must win.
With an equally important game against Liverpool on Saturday evening, Antonio Conte must decide whether to prioritise one game over the other. It`s hard to imagine that the Italian will venture too far away from the line-up that beat West Brom so comprehensively, against Liverpool. The only possible change for that game could be the return of Victor Moses in the right wingback position.
Looking ahead to Wednesday, squad rotation is likely to be the order of the day. Whilst a victory would see Chelsea progress to the knockout stage, with the amount of travelling involved, Conte may well chose the Liverpool game as the priority.
Whoever Conte picks from his squad ought to be able to overcome Qarabag. Famous last words of course. In goal Thibaut Courtois will be looking to keep his third clean sheet in a row.
As captain Gary Cahill will lead the side, if fit, Conte seems happy to play the Englishman. In the reverse fixture David Luiz was rotated, with Andreas Christensen taking his place. This time round the reverse may be the case. Assuming Conte and has some sort of relationship with the Brazilian, David Luiz starts. For Defensive continuity Cesar Azpilicueta also starts.
The two wing backs Marcos Alonso and Davide Zappacosta are also likely to retain their places. The decision the coach now has to make is whether to go with two in the middle or three. I`m going with two in my pick, N`golo Kante and Danny Drinkwater. It`s time that we had a look at the old Leicester City partnership. Cesc Fabregas can be saved for the game at the weekend, and Tiemoue Bakayoko can get some shooting practice.
The final decision comes down to whether Eden Hazard is rested. You just can`t though, can you? Hazard must play. Get the game over by halftime then rest him. With Michy Batshuayi out injured, Conte`s only striking choice is Alvaro Morata, the Spaniard can look to continue his partnership with Hazard. Last place in the side goes to the forgotten man, and the victim of Antonio Conte`s 3-5-2 formation, Pedro.
The game is bound to be more difficult than the one at Stamford Bridge, but with the squad getting back to it`s best, qualification for the last sixteen is certainly possible.