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Predicted Chelsea lineup against Hull City: Can't drop both Cahill and Ivanovic

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Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

As they say in Hollywood or, indeed, in Hull-ywood, let's cut to the chase.

John Terry is out for a fourth straight match, his supposed minor injury once again proving just a bit more nagging than initially though.  As I can personally attest to, once you get past a certain age, recovering from things becomes a much harder and progressively longer proposition ... even if you're in tip-top shape like the Chelsea captain.  A cursory stretch and a couple pints was all it used to take.  Now it's a lot of groaning and hobbling and complaining Murtaugh-style.  But back to the chase.

The biggest assumption that I suppose we'll make is that Cahill will be dropped.  Surely, he's got to be.  While I could see Conte keeping faith and thus building up Cahill's confidence ("We believe you won't [fun] up for the fifth match in a row, Gazza!"), it's probably time to just give him a day off.  If JT had been healthy, this would've been a no-brainer.  But since he isn't, we'll just have to slide Ivanovic into the middle.  Conte did this for the League Cup match against Bristol Rovers, so there's some precedence.

The fullbacks pick themselves in this case, as does the midfield that should be once again devoid of Cesc Fabregas.  And while I could see a few changes in the forward line (Hazard has been underperforming as of late, and Moses seems to be more effective than Willian), I'm not sure any of that will happen just yet.

So I expect things to be mostly the same, with the couple changes in the defensive line.

4-1-4-1/4-3-3:
Courtois | Alonso, Ivanovic, David Luiz, Azpilicueta | Kante | Matic, Oscar | Hazard, Costa, Willian

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The community's preferred lineup had JT instead of Ivanovic in the middle, but with JT's injury, we'll plunk Bane in there instead (he finished fifth among defenders in the voting).  Moses does get the nod over Willian, as does Fabregas over Matic in the middle.

4-1-4-1/4-3-3
Courtois | Alonso, Ivanovic, David Luiz, Azpilicueta | Kante | Fabregas, Oscar | Hazard, Costa, Moses