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Predicted Chelsea lineup against Leicester City: Who will take Costa's place?

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Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

We thought that Antonio Conte was just playing it coy in his pre-match press conference when he hinted at an injury concern or two for Saturday's match at Leicester City, but as it turns out, that injury concern is actually part of a much bigger concern about Diego Costa.  Reports of a bust-up between star striker and head coach have exploded over the past few hours, but regardless of whether those do end leading to anything drastic, the one definite outcome looks to be that Costa will not be playing tomorrow.  Whether that's due to the injury or the bust-up over the injury doesn't change that.

So the question then becomes, who will take Diego's place at the front?  Batshuayi played there last weekend in the FA Cup and got a goal and an assist, but it was more of a 3-5-2 setup (with Willian as the second striker) and it was against rather lowly opposition from the third division.  When Costa was forced to miss time through suspension, Conte opted to play Eden Hazard as a sort of center forward, though Hazard ended up playing much more like false nine (dropping deep and not running the channels).  That may have been a good solution for a home match, but would it work away from home as well?  We may not have much choice, unless Conte has suddenly become convinced by Batshuayi.

Fortunately, the rest of the squad should be healthy and not involved in a BLAZING ROW and John Terry's one-match ban doesn't really affect things.  So the rest is the usual lot, with the adjustment at the top.

3-4-3:
Courtois | Cahill, David Luiz, Azpilicueta | Alonso, Matić, Kanté, Moses | Pedro, Hazard, Willian

The community's preferred lineup obviously includes Diego, since all this was before our quiet, peaceful Friday was so rudely disrupted.  Alonso's numbers are a bit down thanks largely to the stories about the leg injury he has been carrying for a while, while Matić just barely beat out Fàbregas by about 0.5%.

3-4-3:
Courtois (99+%) | Cahill (82%), David Luiz (99%), Azpilicueta (96%) | Alonso (57%), Matić (52%), Kanté (97%), Moses (93%) | Hazard (99%), Costa (99%), Pedro (70%)