The good times are returning to Stamford Bridge, unbeaten in all competitions since the first game blip against Burnley, and with wantaway striker Diego Costa finally leaving. Antonio Conte, it could be argued, got his team selection and tactics wrong in the Arsenal game, but in a busy month of football there`s not much time to dwell upon it.
Saturday afternoon, Chelsea travel to the Bet365 stadium to take on Stoke City, who have had a mixed start to the season. An home win against Arsenal and a draw with Manchester United prove it will not be a walkover for Antonio Conte`s side.
Having rotated his relatively small squad of players in the 5-1 victory over Nottingham Forest on Wednesday night, the rested players will drop back into the fold.
As is well known, Stoke like to get stuck in, especially against the ‘big boys` and with Ryan Shawcross likely to return following injury, Chelsea`s players will know what to expect. Hopefully the guile of Chelsea`s front three will match the Potters ‘strength` in defence.
Conte will be able to recall Eden Hazard to the starting XI following his injury lay-off, giving supporters a chance to properly see how he can link up with Alvaro Morata. The likely starting line-up will be –
Antonio Conte ought to keep the faith with Gary Cahill in defence having named him as captain at the start of the season. For a game against Stoke City his experience on the pitch will be crucial.
Kurt Zouma who is currently on loan with the Potter`s is unable to play against his parent club, so will sit this game out. His move to Stoke has, so far, worked out well, he`s gaining valuable minutes of game time. Antonio Conte spoke about him at his Friday pre-match press conference,
`This season it`s very important to play because after a really bad injury, it`s not simple – he broke his leg in a bad way, He is playing very well, it`s a pleasure for me to see him play regularly in this way. He can improve, I hope to see him tomorrow to say hello. In this case in every decision I make the decision with the club together and it`s important to know this, but in this specific case I think the best way for him is to send him on loan and play regularly. He renewed contract with Chelsea for many years, it showed we trust him, it was very important.`
The game on Saturday kicks off at 3pm. You`re line-up suggestions are most welcome in the comments box below.