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Predicted Chelsea lineup against Crystal Palace: Eden Hazard set to return; others doubtful

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Chelsea v Manchester United - The Emirates FA Cup Quarter-Final Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

There are “two or three situations” to check for Antonio Conte ahead of tomorrow’s match against Crystal Palace in terms of injuries and availabilities go, but one player confirmed to not only start but “play well” is Eden Hazard. Hazard had spent the two-week international break recuperating a minor calf injury that had kept him out of Chelsea’s last match, a 2-1 win over Stoke City.

David Luiz also spent the past two weeks getting his knee into better order, but there’s less positive news over Victor Moses, who remains doubtful despite toughing out the game against Stoke, and over Diego Costa, who had to have an ankle scan halfway through the international break. The scan came back negative, but Conte appeared less confident about the striker’s status. Meanwhile, Thibaut Courtois picked up a minor hip injury, but is expected to be fit.

I would assume that if Costa is training, he will want to play and we will acquiesce to his demands. But if Victor Moses is doubtful, and he missed Nigeria’s friendly against Senegal over the break, we should be taking no chances with his fitness in light of the massive clash coming up on Wednesday against Manchester City. We will need Moses more for that game than this one.

If Moses is out, César Azpilicueta is likely to move to right wing-back, with Kurt Zouma coming on as the third defender. This switch is something that Conte has done multiple times late in matches, and should provide added height to combat Palace’s Christian Benteke.

While Palace like to play with three midfielders, Sam Allardyce is likely to set up his team to “out-tactick” defend and spoil and hope for the best. That calls for Cesc Fàbregas, who also got a good rest over the past two weeks.

3-4-3:
Courtois | Cahill, David Luiz, Zouma | Alonso, Fàbregas, Kanté, Azpilicueta | Hazard, Costa, Pedro

The community’s preferred lineup was made without any injury concerns or assumptions regarding Victor Moses, and so it’s largely the standard 3-4-3 that we’ve come to know and love this season.

3-4-3 (90%):
Courtois (84%) | Cahill (89%), David Luiz (83%), Azpilicueta (95%) | Alonso (92%), Fàbregas (78%), Kanté (94%), Moses (91%) | Hazard (74%), Costa (80%), Pedro (84%)