The penultimate game of the Premier League season lies ahead for Chelsea today. Our opponents are struggling Huddersfield Town who, due to only recording a single win since the end of February, find themselves in the middle of a heated relegation battle. That can often inspire unlikely results, though Chelsea will also be desperate for points, to keep hope alive of a top four finish.
Chelsea must not to take this game lightly, to say the least, so even if Conte has hinted this game involving a fair share of rotation after Sunday’s efforts, we should not expect a fully rotated lineup as if this were a bonus League Cup midweek encounter.
To accommodate some fresh legs, Conte will probably return to his nowadays traditional 3-4-3 formation. With the 3-5-2 talked up as an option against “stronger” teams, the old trusty 3-4-3 should do in this one.
In goal, there should be no changes as Courtois naturally retains his spot. In defense, Christensen possibly gives one of the nowadays first-choice trio a breather; let’s say Cahill since he’s taken over Christensen’s center-center back position. AC undoubtedly has a bright future ahead of him, but he’s been dropped for five of the last six games, and this is probably the last chance for him to play this season.
We could also see one (or both?) of the wing-backs rested, although Alonso and Moses both were very good against Liverpool (especially the latter) and Zappacosta has not done much all season. Emerson however did well during Alonso’s suspension; I’d really want the former Roma wing-back to start, but I just can't see Conte making that change, sadly. In midfield, let’s just keep it simple and go with the future impenetrable duo of Kanté and Bakayoko. This option also allows Fàbregas to make an impact off the bench — his best role — should that be needed.
In attack, Eden Hazard and Willian are the only obvious choices, while it’s a toss of a coin between Giroud and Morata. Not starting Morata would undoubtedly create further transfer rumor nonsense, but Giroud’s beard is magnificent, and that's reason enough for me.
Courtois | Rüdiger, Christensen, Azpilicueta | Alonso, Bakayoko, Kante, Moses | Hazard, Giroud, Willian
The WAGNH community’s preferred line-up is similarly preferring a more attacking 3-4-3 than the more balanced 3-5-2, and is expecting even more rotation than my prediction. Some of this is due to split votes, such as Hazard and Pedro collecting 43% and 42%, respectively, and both Alonso and Fàbregas finishing with 46% with Cahill just ahead at 47%. Theoretically, we could keep the back three from Sunday and push Christensen to midfield and Bakayoko up top, or put Emerson in the Hazard position, but let’s just fib a little and give Eden the start instead.
Courtois (90%) | Rüdiger (93%), Christensen (62%), Azpilicueta (97%) | Emerson (55%), Kanté (95%), Bakayoko (65%), Moses (53%) | Hazard (43%), Morata (69%), Willian (82%)