Chelsea take a brief diversion from the Premier League for a taste of Carabao, which in fairness tastes rather bad in anything other than Cup form. Victory here would propel Chelsea into the semifinals for the first time in three seasons.
The Blues already beat the Cherries once this season, Eden Hazard’s lone goal early in the second half enough for Chelsea to collect all three points at Dean Court. Conte opted for a 3-4-3 that day despite the unavailability of N’Golo Kanté through injury (Fàbregas-Bakayoko comprised the two-man midfield).
Kanté is now back, but is riding a streak of 10 consecutive starts — longest active streak outside of Courtois’ 12 in a row — so perhaps a rest is in order? One player who ensured that he would get a rest is Marcos Alonso, who smartly picked up his fifth yellow of the domestic season on Saturday and will thus serve a one-match suspension. David Luiz is probably the only other player unavailable.
Chelsea have the early kick-off on Saturday on very short turnaround away to Everton. The U23s have a game on Tuesday which could yet speak to the availability of several youngsters, such as Ethan Ampadu or Dujon Sterling.