A midfield of N’Golo Kanté and Danny Drinkwater has never lost to Manchester United — though it also never faced José Mourinho’s Manchester United — but, as Dom Fifield of the Guardian reports, there is a good chance that Antonio Conte will reunite Leicester City’s title-winning midfield pairing for the first time since Drinkwater’s arrival in the summer as he attempts to get Chelsea a third Premier League win in a row. Drinkwater did get sent off in one of the meetings two years ago, both of which finished 1-1.
In other, more or less confirmed team news, Gary Cahill will be restored to the left side of the defensive trio, just as during last season’s title-winning run. Conte has intimated that switching Cahill to the right was something that was suggested to him — possibly to play Cahill on his stronger side, just as he used to play next to Terry — but is not something that will be tried again.
“Who must understand understands. I think Cahill can play on the right or the left, but the best position for me is on the left. But sometimes can happen a misunderstanding, you understand. It’s important then to clarify the situation. But, for sure, he will play on Sunday.”
“He’s very good to play on the left. We won a league with Cahill in this position. I don’t understand why we have to try again to put him on the right.”
-Antonio Conte; source: Telegraph
So, Leicester City’s title-winning midfield, Chelsea’s title-winning defence, a bit of Hazard & Morata magic up front, and a first-minute goal from Pedro and we got this, right?
Courtois | Cahill, David Luiz, Azpilicueta | Alonso, Kanté, Drinkwater, Zappacosta | Hazard, Morata, Pedro
I actually have no idea how likely this all is. It seems weird to not include either Bakayoko and Fàbregas, but they both looked dead on their legs for a while now, and Cesc has always been better as a game-changing substitute anyway. And even though Roma scored three times on Tuesday, they were due to individual errors rather than a weakness of the 3-4-3 system itself.
The WAGNH community’s preference is split mostly between a 3-4-3 (46%) and a 3-5-2 (38%), with a decent percentage wanting a return to a standard back four (13%). There’s a similar amount of indecision for playing personnel, which means that we end up having to drop Christensen (who got exactly four fewer votes than Rüdiger) in favor of Pedro to make some sense of things.
Courtois (97%) | Rüdiger (58%), David Luiz (74%), Azpilicueta (94%) | Alonso (89%), Kanté (76%), Bakayoko (65%), Zappacosta (77%) | Hazard (98%), Morata (94%), Pedro (53%)