After Thursday’s pleasant lineup surprises at Burnley, suddenly it’s not as routine as it used to be to predict Antonio Conte’s selections. The first start for Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Maroata yoked up front, Pedro in midfield, Emerson shining at wingback and the maligned Bakayoko putting in a solid shift — the success of all of that has changed the picture.
Or has it?
Sunday’s FA Cup semifinal against Southampton comes with just two days’ rest for the players. No doubt we’ll see some changes, but they’re not entirely predictable. For example, Emerson was excellent but he hasn’t played much. It might be asking too much of him go again so soon.
Hazard will certainly start after a dominating 19 minutes at Turf Moor. Willian will be hard to keep out of the side on his current form. So does that put the two-striker formation on ice, at least for a day? Does Fabregas reclaim his job in midfield? Wherefore Gary Cahill, who had a statistically dominant match against Burnley?
It’s a feast of choices! (Other than the usual injured suspects David Luiz, Drinkwater, and Ampadu, while Alonso serves the second match of his suspension.) So what’s your flavor? Time to select your preferred lineup. Note the new formation option reflecting Thursday’s double-striker fun.