Chelsea have the opportunity to close the gap on the top-four when they entertain Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge this weekend. The Blues are currently trailing fourth-placed Spurs by five points, and Sunday’s game is a must-win, if they are to stay within reach of Champions League qualification for next season.
Belgium international Thibaut Courtois has not feature in a competitive fixture since the Champions League round of 16, second leg defeat to Barcelona. The 26-year-old has struggled with a hamstring issue over the past couple of weeks, but he is expected to make a swift recovery prior to the London derby.
Likewise, the defensive combination may remain unchanged with Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen featuring in a three-man midfield. The latter has been struggling with muscular fatigue of late, but he is likely to be deemed fit after a prolonged rest with no international commitments.
Victor Moses has been the undisputed choice for the right-wing position this term, and the Nigerian is likely to maintain his role with Marcos Alonso slotting in the opposite direction. Alonso has been consistent for the Blues in the left wing-back spot, and he most recently earned his maiden cap with Spain.
Onto the midfield department, N’Golo Kante is a certain starter for the Blues with his exemplary work-rate on the playing field, and he could partner compatriot Tiemoue Bakayoko, who lasted only 45 minutes of the FA Cup quarter-final tie against Leicester City.
Conte clarified that the decision was made tactically to avoid Bakayoko from being sent off, and the Frenchman may now return to the fray for the London derby where the Blues may require some physical strength in midfield to overpower the likes of Mousa Dembele, Eric Dier and Victor Wanyama.
Further forward, we may see similar faces in Eden Hazard and Willian making up the left and right side of the attack respectively, whilst Alvaro Morata is a strong contender to lead the line ahead of Olivier Giroud after ending his goal-drought prior to the break against Leicester.
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