In his pre-match press conference, Antonio Conte assured once again that the decision to drop David Luiz for Chelsea’s last game, the 1-0 win over Manchester United, was purely a technical one, even as every story and rumor published since speaks of something more going on between the two men behind the scenes. The situation has more than a couple echoes of (the start of) the Diego Costa saga last year, and that would include the player returning to the squad the following game, which David Luiz is about to do.
"Yes, David Luiz is in the squad. I repeat; it was a technical decision. Every single player has to react well and accept my decision.”
-Antonio Conte; Source: Sky Sports
But does that mean he’s back in the starting lineup or just that he’s not banished to the stands anymore? Presumably David Luiz has “reacted well” and “accepted the decision” in order to not be the latter so let’s assume he gets rewarded with the former then as well, which would also avoid further headlines to an extent and continue mirroring the Costa situation, who was also back in the lineup as well after getting dropped for the match against Leicester City.
The rest of the lineup should be fairly straightforward, with options reduced at striker and right wing-back due to injuries.
“Batshuayi has a problem in his ankle. Musonda has a problem in his knee. Moses is progressing well and I hope to see him back next week. Gary Cahill is in contention for tomorrow’s game, he is fit.”
-Antonio Conte; Source: Chelsea FC
The only question now is whether we continue with the 3-5-2 “big game” setup or switch back to the standard 3-4-3. Given that it’s West Brom, who are likely to sit massed ranks of defenders, we’re going to need all the forward and midfield passing options we can get our hands on.
Courtois | Cahill, David Luiz, Azpilicueta | Alonso, Fàbregas, Kanté, Zappacosta | Hazard, Morata, Pedro
The WAGNH community’s preferred lineup continues the 3-5-2 and certainly does not reinstate David Luiz (27%). Cahill (50%) just misses out to Rüdiger for the final starting spot.
Courtois (98%) | Rüdiger (52%), Christensen (84%), Azpilicueta (97%) | Alonso (95%), Fàbregas (70%), Kanté (99%), Bakayoko (64%), Zappacosta (85%) | Hazard (97%), Morata (99%)