Chelsea return home to finish out the calendar year with back-to-back must-win games at Stamford Bridge, before a trip across town to the Emirates at the start of the new year ratchets up the difficulty level.
After the weekend’s disappointing draw at Everton, Chelsea are likely to switch things up a bit, if for nothing else than fitness and rotational reasons. But Álvaro Morata should be back and available to start (no more back injury and not suspended either!), which should mean a return to the 3-5-2 as well. While Chelsea tend to look more attacking in the classic 3-4-3, both Pedro and Willian have started four consecutive games and thus could very much use a rest. The 3-5-2 should allow Conte to fit in Fàbregas easily from the start as well, and his passing and creativity could be key to unlocking the visiting Seagulls.
So here’s basically the same lineup with which Chelsea beat Newcastle 3-1 a few weeks ago (with Cahill rotating in for Rüdiger).
Courtois | Cahill, Christensen, Azpilicueta | Alonso, Drinkwater, Kanté, Fàbregas, Moses | Hazard, Morata
The WAGNH community’s preference is along very similar lines. The 11 highest vote-getters match my prediction, but the preferred lineup is a 3-4-3 instead of the 3-5-2, so instead of dropping Drinkwater, I shoe-horned Fàbregas in as the third forward (which is something we did see a few times last season).
Courtois (99%) | Cahill (63%), Christensen (98%), Azpilicueta (97%) | Alonso (86%), Drinkwater (44%), Kanté (87%), Moses (72%) | Hazard (98%), Morata (98%), Fàbregas (85%)