“I need all the players,” says Antonio Conte as he talks about having to play games every three (occasionally four) days from now until the spring, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a full rotation of the squad for Wednesday night’s clash in Baku, Azerbaijan against Qarabag. It is, after all, the biggest game of the season.
“We have to play the most important game of the season from the start until now. If we are able to win against Qarabag, we can go through to the next round of the Champions League and this is very important because this period from now until January is very busy, so it is very important to win the game.”
-Antonio Conte; source: Chelsea FC
A place in the Champions League knockout rounds is on the line and while failure to win isn’t yet a disaster, it would make things a lot easier for when Atlético Madrid roll into town in two weeks.
So, the big question is, how much rotation can we afford?
Complicating the answer are injuries to Victor Moses (expected back for the weekend’s next most important game, away at Liverpool, but not for this game) and to the Belgian duo of Michy Batshuayi and Charly Musonda Jr, neither of whom have any prognosis for or expected return date from their respective foot and knee injuries.