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Predicted Chelsea lineup against Southampton: Morata back and so is the 3-5-2

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West Ham United v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Antonio Conte did not have any shocking news to deliver regarding the squad’s health for Saturday’s match against Southampton at Stamford Bridge. David Luiz remains out with what’s now being called a “big inflammation” in his knee as he’s been restricted to light training work on the side and in the pool. But Alvaro Morata should be back after missing Tuesday’s game with a back complaint (as well as general fatigue stemming from an illness the prior week).

“He’s better. He trained with us two days ago, again yesterday and also today. He has this pain in his back but he’s in contention for tomorrow’s game.”

-Alvaro Morata; source: Chelsea FC

Presuming that Morata plays, and also presuming that he doesn’t play against Bournemouth on Wednesday in the League Cup quarterfinal (arise, Batshuayi!), tomorrow’s game is an opportunity for Chelsea to return to the usual 3-5-2 lineup that we’ve seen more and more frequently. While results have not always been impressive, some of that could be attributed to poor finishing that should, in theory, eventually revert to a more average baseline. More importantly, if 3-5-2 is the way forward to Conte (and the Hazard-Morata duo), then we need all the practice we can get. Having Moses from the beginning should be a big help as well.

3-5-2:
Courtois | Cahill, Christensen, Azpilicueta | Alonso, Drinkwater, Kante, Fabregas, Moses | Hazard, Morata

The WAGNH community’s preference remains firmly on the side of 3-4-3 after Tuesday’s solid win over Huddersfield and the recent relative struggles of the 3-5-2. Certainly, there was an idea recently that the 3-4-3 is for “weaker” opposition while the 3-5-2 is the “big game” formation, but that distinction seemed to blur over the last few weeks. In positional preferences, Rudiger ekes out Cahill 54-51, Fabregas bests Drinkwater 57-43, and Willian handily outranks Pedro 54-35.

3-4-3 (68%):
Courtois (98%) | Rudiger (54%), Christensen (98%), Azpilicueta (96%) | Alonso (83%), Kante (93%), Fabregas (57%), Moses (88%) | Hazard (92%), Morata (80%), Willian (54%)