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Predicted Chelsea lineup against West Brom: Conte tries to play it coy in midfield

In his press conference on Friday, Antonio Conte tried to play it coy with regards to his starting midfield on Sunday against West Bromwich Albion.

While he reassured that Nemanja Matic, who had missed last weekend's game with injury, was back in training and ready to go, he claimed that he was still deciding whom to start against the Baggies.  Cesc Fàbregas took Matić's place last week, while young Nathaniel Chalobah is always a viable option as well — next to Kanté of course, who simply has to start each and every week.

Despite the upcoming fixture congestion, my guess is that Conte will roll with the first-choice lineup as long as he can and then make changes accordingly.  Plus, this way, anyone who needs a rest midweek will presumably be ready to go once again on the weekend.

With the only expected absentees being John Terry and Oscar, neither of whom are starters at the moment, the lineup against West Brom should be once again the usual starting eleven that we've seen start almost every game during this eight-game winning streak.  Fàbregas and Willian may have performed well enough last weekend to earn more significant minutes and perhaps even starts, but maybe not until they're absolutely needed.

That said, while I don't expect it, I could see Conte opting for a Fàbregas over Matić just purely because we would expect Tony Pulis to set up his side in a strong defensive formation and we might need the quality of Cesc's passing to make any inroads in that.

Courtois | Cahill, David Luiz, Azpilicueta | Alonso, Matić, Kanté, Moses | Hazard, Costa, Pedro

Meanwhile, the community's preference would be to roll with the two changes, Willian for Pedro and Cesc for Matić — though I don't know how much their questionable injury status earlier this week influenced this. But, while a reasonable argument could be made for both changes, I think Conte will go back to his tried and true, if for nothing else as it will give him more options the rest of this busy week.

Courtois (97%) | Cahill (79%), David Luiz (96%), Azpilicueta (96%) | Alonso (93%), Fàbregas (64%), Kanté (97%), Moses (96%) | Hazard (98%), Costa (63%), Willian (76%)

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