It will be Antonio Conte’s first competitive game in charge as the Chelsea gaffer, but how will he set up his side ahead of the mouthwatering London derby against a rejuvenated West Ham United?
From Goalkeepers to Strikers, let us take a look at the options for Conte as Stamford Bridge prepares for a vital Monday Night Clash.
Despite having a few fallible games last season, Thibaut Courtois (24) seems likely to remain the man between the sticks for Chelsea for years to come. He does face competition from Bosnian shotstopper Asmir Begovic but it will be a surprise if he gets the nod ahead of his Belgian counterpart.
Branislav Ivanovic was massive for the Blue’s defense as Mourinho won them the Premier league back in 2014-2015 scoring 6 Goals and 5 assists, but he had a season to forget last year as the Blues collectively failed- rather miserably. Injury to budding youngster Kurt Zouma implies that Conte will kick off with the experienced all-English duo of John Terry and Gary Cahill. With Baba Rahman currently loaned to Shalke, Cesar Azpilicueta seems all set to start as left back.
Midfield dynamo N’golo Kante was one of the most exciting piece of business over the summer having costed Abramovich GBP 30 million from Leicester City and he is all set to make his debut for Chelsea on Monday. Kante might have either Matic or Fabregas alongside him forming a double pivot in the midfield although Fabregas could also be utilized in the hole as a number 10 or at the tip of the midfield diamond. Willian looks all set to start for the Blues after winning the Chelsea Player of the Year last season while the wizardry of Eden Hazard on the left flank will be a constant fixture throughout the season. Ruben Loftus Cheek, Kenedy, Pedro and Cuadrado will only be able to make it to the bench while Oscar might be preferred for the number 10 role behind the lone striker.
One really has to think hard (and long) about the rumoured Lukaku/Icardi signings while Chelsea already possess the likes of Costa and Batshuayi in their arsenal. Diego Costa, having scored 37 goals for the Blues over the past two seasons is deadly on his day and more than capable of leading Conte’s men to a title run (as seen in 2014-2015). Belgian forward Michy Batshuayi arrived at Stamford Bridge from Marseille for a fee of GBP 33.2 million earlier in the summer, and while Chelsea seem to come in the league of spendthrift football teams, we can only hope that Batshuayi wasn’t bought (for that amount of money) to warm the Chelsea bench all along.
Or could we see a Lukaku-Batshuayi-Hazard trinity at the bridge, soon?
It is certainly not going to be a cakewalk but more of a litmus test for Conte’s Chelsea side as the rivalry looks all set to grow by the day with the emergence of Slaven Bilic’s Hammers side.
Enjoy this compilation as the build up gets warmer as Monday Night approaches.
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