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Predicted Chelsea lineup against Watford: No center forward once again

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Chelsea Training and Press Conference Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

A Chelsea striker has already scored a brace this weekend — g’wan, Michy! — but Chelsea themselves are set to start Monday’s game without a recognized striker. Sure, Eden Hazard will play his approximation of one (which inevitably turns into a false-9), but neither Álvaro Morata nor Olivier Giroud are expected to start. The former is injured and the latter is not quite match fit yet.

“Olivier is coming back from a muscular injury and was out for 50 days before playing 15 minutes against Swansea. You have to try and make the best decisions to bring these two players to the best physical condition, and then work with them. It’s important to adapt them to our idea of football.”

-Antonio Conte; source: Football.London

And given Ross Barkley’s recent injury, which or may or may not have something to do with his previous hamstring issue, even if Conte was considering starting Giroud, he’ll surely be a bit less enthusiastic to do so.

Elsewhere, injuries and player availability is likely to determine the starters as well. In attack, Willian is expected to return, while in defence, if David Luiz is fit, he will surely start in the center. Since I don’t want to consider the alternative, I’m just going to assume that he will pass his fitness test. You’re a warrior, Sideshow!

3-4-3:
Courtois | Rüdiger, David Luiz, Azpilicueta | Alonso, Kanté, Bakayoko, Moses | Pedro, Hazard, Willian

The WAGNH’s community’s preference is a bit less boring than last year’s 3-4-3, giving a start to Cahill in the middle of the back three (accounting for David Luiz’s questionable status, surely) and giving a hopeful vote for a Giroud start up front.

3-4-3 (60%):
Courtois (90%) | Rüdiger (87%), Cahill (51%), Azpilicueta (99%) | Alonso (92%), Kanté (99%), Fàbregas (69%), Moses (69%) | Hazard (99%+), Giroud (55%), Pedro (54%)