Antonio Conte’s men are in the middle of a jam-packed fixture crisis with the Blues playing three matches in 7 days. One fixture involves a visit to the Emirates to face Arsenal in the second round of the Carabao Cup semi-final clash. The other is a league visit to Brighton over the weekend. The third one was the FA Cup 3rd round replay against Norwich City. Chelsea came out of the cup clash against Norwich with a 5-3 win on penalties when a 1-1 draw failed to break the deadlock at the Bridge after 120 minutes.
However, the Blues had only themselves to blame as they failed to get the job done while visiting Norwich a few days ago and have now lost two players in the form of Alvaro Morata and Pedro after both Spaniards were sent off in yesterday’s controversial fixture.
In their last league game, Leicester City’s 0-0 draw with Chelsea exposed the Blues dependency on Hazard’s form who was off his game that night. However, Conte reasoned that his men were suffering from fatigue and that was the reason for their insipid displays in the last few days.
Conte will hope to turn things around in the match against Brighton and Hove, a tie Chelsea, no matter how tired they are, will be expected to win. Conte will want to use this tie as a platform to lift his team with a comprehensive win and help his team return to the scoring ways.
With the race for the top four in the league heating up, Conte can use this fixture as the perfect confidence booster to get his men back on track and make charge going into the second half of the season. Here is how he is expected to line up the Blues for the match.
Willy Caballero is expected to lose his place to Thibaut Courtois in goal despite playing well in the match against Norwich City. In defence, Cahill who walked out the last time holding his hamstring might be given some rest and the defensive trio for the fixture will be led by Cesar Azpilicueta with young deputies in Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger following command. The right wing back is expected to be Victor Moses with Marcos Alonso expected to play at left wing-back.
N’Golo Kante is expected to play the match alongside Danny Drinkwater in midfield with Ross Barkley likely to get a start ahead of these two men for his Chelsea debut as Cesc Fabregas remains out with a hamstring injury.
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