As has been said far too often in the past few months, Chelsea will be hoping to regain some form against London rivals West Ham when the two clash at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, this following a very depressing 3-1 defeat to Tottenham last weekend. After resorting to a 3-5-2 formation in a 1-0 loss to the Hammers back in December, it's safe to say that we won't be using that again anytime soon and the 'trusty' 3-4-3 is most probably going to be applied once more.
While I understand that it's still mathematically possible to reach a top 4 spot, things aren't looking good, to say the least. The question arises whether we're now able to resort to players other than our current strongest starting eleven, providing (more) opportunities to the likes of Emerson, Davide Zappacosta and Danny Drinkwater, among others.
Personally, I believe one can make a case to advocate that giving at least one of those players a chance per game should most certainly be doable without risking our remaining chances of grabbing one of those Champions League spots, however unlikely that may seem. After all, it's not like our current starters have been performing exceptionally, anyway.
In the process, it would also be nice to see Callum Hudson-Odoi be given a few cameos to further prove his worth to the manager. And on a side note, this would also be a perfect chance for Ethan Ampadu, who would certainly receive some minutes if he wasn’t unavailable for the rest of the season due to an ankle injury.
Thus, I hope to correctly predict that Antonio Conte will give a Premier League full debut to Emerson and choose Zappacosta over Moses in an attempt to freshen things up. Also, Tiemoué Bakayoko returns to the starting lineup after some disappointing displays by Cesc Fàbregas. One can only hope that the young Frenchman doesn't feel the pressure as much now and is able to find some form in the remaining fixtures of the season. Other than those 3 changes, the starting eleven stays the same.
My predicted lineup is as follows:
Courtois | Rüdiger, Christensen, Azpilicueta | Emerson, Kante, Bakayoko, Zappacosta | Hazard, Morata, Willian
The WAGNH community’s preferred lineup reflects an indecisiveness among supporters as people seem torn between giving chances to the aforementioned fringe players and simply continuing to utilize the 'strongest' side, especially in midfield (Danny 35%, Cesc 34%). One player whose low amount of votes received could be interpreted as a vote of no confidence is Victor Moses (22%). However, it nevertheless generally coincides with my predicted lineup as changes in the wing back and midfield positions hopefully breathe new life into this side.
Courtois (83%) | Rüdiger (89%), Christensen (79%), Azpilicueta (96%) | Emerson (55%), Kanté (96%), Bakayoko (39%), Zappacosta (55%) | Hazard (88%), Morata (79%), Willian (84%)