Even if Chelsea weren't coming off back-to-back disappointing results, this League Cup third round match against Leicester City was always going to see heavy rotation and a chance for the backups, fringe players, and youth to stake a claim. Conte may be happy to stick with a solid first eleven, but he changed over half the team for the second round match against Bristol Rovers, and now, with more options available to him in the squad, something similar should be expected. In fact, if we consider the level of performance against Liverpool, we should not be surprised if all eleven players are switched out.
That may not happen of course. Leicester City are no Bristol Rovers, though the Foxes are likely to rotate heavily as well given their congested schedule of Premier League and Champions League action, as well as a trip to Old Trafford coming up over the weekend. Still, even Chelsea's second-choice eleven should be good enough to take on Leicester's second-choice or a 1.5th-choice, so to speak, starting lineup.
In any case, the players who seem assured of getting a start include, first and foremost, Cesc Fabregas, plus the usual names who are seeing regular minutes as substitutes: Pedro, Victor Moses, and Michy Batshuayi. Asmir Begovic will undoubtedly start in goal, while new boys Marcos Alonso and David Luiz are set to make their first and second appearances, respectively, since signing on transfer deadline day.
It was an honour to play my 100th game for this great club against Liverpool. I sincerely hope i can play 100 more starting from tomorrow.— Cesc Fàbregas Soler (@cesc4official) September 19, 2016
The rest of the spots are a bit less clear. Ola Aina started against Bristol Rovers; would be nice to see him get another chance against tougher opposition. With Terry ruled out, it's probably going to be Gary Cahill starting again next to David Luiz. Ahead of them, Conte is likely to opt for a three-man midfield away from home (rather than the two-man configuration we saw against Rovers at home), which could mean a first appearance of the year for Mikel and maybe even Nathaniel Chalobah?
Begovic | Alonso, David Luiz, Cahill, Aina | Mikel | Chalobah, Fabregas | Pedro, Batshuayi, Moses
Perhaps all that's a bit optimisitic, and there's little doubt that Conte's primary aim will be to win rather than just to give minutes to youngsters and rotate just for the sake of rotation, but I really do hope we see a few fresh faces after the flagging performances from the first-team.
The WAGNH community's preferred lineup represents perhaps a more reasonable amount of rotation from Conte and Chelsea for tomorrow.
Begovic | Alonso, David Luiz, Cahill, Azpilicueta | Kante | Fabregas, Loftus-Cheek | Hazard, Batshuayi, Moses