Date: 15th December 2017 at 7:50am
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With Chelsea having returned to winning ways on Tuesday, Southampton are the visitors to Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon. With a whole host of games coming up, Antonio Conte is once again likely to rest and rotate his side.

Thibaut Courtois will almost certainly start in goal having not yet missed a league game this season. Gary Cahill didn’t play in the game against Huddersfield and is also set to captain the team for this one. Since Conte and David Luiz fell out, the Brazilian has barely featured, a mystery knee injury keeping him sidelined.

With rumours of reconciliatory talks between the two having taken place, there’s the vague possibility of Luiz returning to the starting XI. Andreas Christensen has played a lot of games recently, so is probably due a rest. Cesar Azpilicueta missed one game not long ago, so he ought to be good to go.

Reverting back to a 3-5-2 formation, there’s every chance that the Italian may well choose to give N`golo Kante a break ahead of the busy Christmas program. Stepping in for the Frenchman could be his old Leicester buddy Danny Drinkwater. It’s been a frustrating time for DD since arriving in the summer, niggling injuries, and more recently illness, have seen out of action. Saturday hopefully sees him get back on track. Conte has shown a lot of faith in Cesc Fabregas so far in this Premier League campaign. There’s no reason Conte won’t play him once again. Joining the Spaniard and the Englishman in the midfield trio is possibly the big Frenchman Tiemoue Bakayoko. Conte has said he trusts him, having played him from the start of the Huddersfield match.

The two wingback positions are tricky, as they are the areas of the pitch that Conte has least cover for. Victor Moses is returning to full fitness and has been a big miss in recent weeks. He’s made the right wingback position his own. With Kenedy also out of favour, Conte is very limited on the left. It’s pretty much a straight choice between Marcos Alonso and??…You tell me.

Assuming Alvaro Morata is no longer ‘a bit tired`, his return is assured, because like Alonso, who else is there. Last up is perennial man-of-the-match Eden Hazard. Let`s get the points in the bag and then rest him.

Perhaps that’s what Conte should do. Pick his strongest eleven to start every game and then rest and rotate once the game is safe. We may well get a better indication of who will actually play at Antonio Conte`s pre-match press conference later today.

 
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