Events of the last 48 hours have simplified the choices that need to be made for Sunday's starting lineup.
For example, we don't have to worry about rotating Ramires or Loic Remy, with former already on his way to China and the latter not only injured but apparently about to head out the door as well. Meanwhile, Hiddink's glowing words about Gary Cahill's future should confirm that the Engand vice-captain is given a starting role on Sunday and stays with the club until at least the summer (at which he can then figure out if he has a future at Chelsea or not).
Meanwhile, new signings Alexandre Pato (confirmed) and Matt Miazga (not yet confirmed) are highly unlikely to take part, even in a bench role — players have to be registered by 12:00 noon on the Friday prior to be able to take part and while Pato may have snuck in before the deadline, Miazga probably has not.
Judging by our lineup for the previous round, Hiddink will likely stay with his preference for rolling with mostly a first-choice lineup, even though we once again face the prospect of three matches in a week. Asmir Begovic is set to continue to be our cup goalkeeper, while the shape of the attack may largely depend on just how fit and free of pain Diego Costa is on Sunday morning. Early indications seem good and I'm assuming he will play.
Perhaps the two most interesting questions facing the manager are what to do with Matic and what to do with Hazard, two players badly in need of rediscovering form and consistency. My guess is they both start just on the bench, with the former hopefully not needed as defensive reinforcement (give those minutes to Loftus-Cheek) and the latter not needed as attacking desperation (give those minutes, preferably in what will be non-desperate circumstances, to Kenedy or Traoré).
Begovic | Azpilicueta, Cahill, Zouma, Ivanovic | Fabregas, Mikel | Pedro, Oscar, Willian | Costa
The community wants a bit of Baba and a three-man midfield. This would be pretty cool, indeed. But I wouldn't hold my breath...
Begovic | Baba, Cahill, Zouma, Ivanovic | Matic, Mikel, Loftus-Cheek | Hazard, Costa, Kenedy