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Predicted Chelsea lineup against Manchester City: An unchanged way of saying unchanged

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Here comes the three to the four to the three...

Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

In his pre-match press conference, Antonio Conte tried to create a bit of mystery over the team selection, which has been unchanged for six games running and the only change in the game before that was Willian for Pedro.

"We have to check the physical condition of one or two players and then tomorrow decide the line-up. I prefer to keep [the players who will be checked up] a secret"

-Antonio Conte; source: West London Sport

Perhaps it was a futile attempt to give Guardiola something to think about.  If everyone's fit, I seriously doubt Conte's entertaining changes with any sort of conviction.

And why would he?  Seven wins on the bounce now, including last weekend's heartening comeback against Spurs after they broke our 10-hour shutout streak.

Whom would he change anyway?  The back three looks settled and the midfield four are nigh irreplaceable.  Costa and Pedro are firing on all cylinders.  In all actuality, it's probably been Hazard who's been least impressive in the last couple games, but it would be a bold (and probably incorrect) decision to drop him for someone like Willian.

There will be changes soon, no doubt, especially with both Diego Costa and David Luiz now on four yellow cards.  While Costa does have a proper backup in Batshuayi, who might replace Sideshow is a bit less obvious.  But that's a concern for another day.  For now, here it comes again.

3-4-3:
Courtois | Cahill, David Luiz, Azpilicueta | Alonso, Matic, Kante, Moses | Hazard, Costa, Pedro

There's little doubt what the community's preference is, with Pedro the only started not receiving at least 90% of the votes cast for the preferred lineup.  He was at a paltry 87.6%.  I suppose he'll just have to score again.

3-4-3:
Courtois (99%) | Cahill (92%), David Luiz (99%), Azpilicueta (99%) | Alonso (96%), Matic (95%), Kante (99%), Moses (98%) | Hazard (99%), Costa (99%), Pedro (88%)