Chelsea will face West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League’s early kick off on Sunday. Both sides are in great form, with the Blues topping the league and the Baggies currently in 7th place.
Tony Pulis’s side are comfortable without the ball, while Conte’s 3-4-3 machine remains unbeatable, despite conceding their first goals whilst using it in the past few weeks, leaving Chelsea as one of the favourites for the league title.
The Blues are fresh off a major victory at Manchester City and are looking clinical in front of goal, resulting in them being strong favourites to pick up all three points.
Nemanja Matic was ruled out of last week’s win over Manchester City and remains a doubt for Chelsea, with Cesc Fabregas likely to take his place.
Diego Costa and Pedro both picked up knocks in the bad-tempered, top-of-the-table clash last weekend. Pedro was subbed for Willian in the 50th minute after coming out worse of an accidental, studs-up challenge in the first half, while Diego Costa was replaced in the 85th minute for Nathaniel Chalobah, after picking up what looked to be cramp. Losing Costa would be a huge blow, but he is expected to recover in time for West Brom.
John Terry is nearing a return from his ankle injury that ruled him out for two to three weeks, while John Obi Mikel and Ruben Loftus-Cheek remain doubts for Chelsea after missing several weeks of action.
If required, Kurt Zouma is ready to make his first Chelsea appearance since his anterior cruciate ligament injury against Manchester United in February. The France international has been playing for Chelsea Under-23s as he nears a return to first-team action.
Costa has been one yellow card away from a suspension since he was booked against Arsenal in September, but has since cleaned up his discipline record to remain available. He will earn a suspension for Chelsea’s match away to Sunderland, if he is booked on Sunday.
Chelsea have no other players walking a disciplinary tightrope, but have David Luiz and Cesar Azpilicueta both on three bookings. Should the Chelsea squad reach 2017 without picking up another caution, they will avoid suspensions for yellow card accumulation.
Conte has picked an unchanged line-up in his last six games but was forced into a change against Manchester City – with Cesc Fabregas coming in to replace an injured Nemanja Matic.
Chelsea are now on an eight-game winning streak and won’t make any changes if they can help it. However, they have such a significant number of doubts that it is possible that Costa or Pedro could be missing.
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The Blues will line up in a 3-4-3 formation and may try to reintroduce Kurt Zouma to their bench. Conte might be tempted to select Willian, ahead of Pedro, if there are even any slight doubts over his fitness and particularly after his crucial goal against City on Saturday.
The tactical switch to three at the back has tightened up the Blues’s defence, while they have scored 22 goals in their last eight games. West Brom are also in form with three wins in their last four games.