Chelsea’s three weeks of wall-to-wall football begins tomorrow with an away game at Leicester City, and while technically this will be a meeting between the last two Premier League champions, it should be (“should be”) one of the easier games for Chelsea this month. With that in mind, keeping Eden Hazard in reserve, as Antonio Conte has been hinting, makes sense.
Hazard has made two starts and two substitute appearances in semi-competitive settings over the last few weeks, but he’ll be needed to be at his best and freshest in games against Arsenal, Manchester City, and Atletico Madrid this month. He won’t be needed for the League Cup match against Nottingham Forest, but that still leaves six games in twenty-one days so a good amount of rotation will be required. Assuming starts against the aforementioned three as well as against Stoke City away and Qarabag at home, Hazard’s only chance to (pre-emptively) take a rest is this Saturday’s game.
That said, playing him on Saturday and then resting on Tuesday against Qarabag is an equally viable option, especially since Willian was the last player to return from international duty.
Conte’s only other dilemma at the moment is which midfielder to start next to N’Golo Kante, but considering that this is an away game, he is likely to opt for the presence of Bakayoko instead of the guile of Fabregas.
Courtois | Rudiger, David Luiz, Azpilicueta | Alonso, Kante, Bakayoko, Moses | Pedro, Morata, Willian
The WAGNH community’s preferred look is similar but with Fabregas continuing to start over Bakayoko.
Courtois (99%) | Rudiger (87%), David Luiz (98%), Azpilicueta (98%) | Alonso (98%), Kante (98%), Fabregas (63%), Moses (73%) | Pedro (78%), Morata (98%), Willian (78%)
See you tomorrow!