Chelsea managed to navigate almost the entirety of last season without any significant injuries or suspensions, but we’ve not been afforded that same level of comfort this season so far. With Pedro and (probably) Eden Hazard still sidelined and with Gary Cahill and Cesc Fàbregas suspended and with Álvaro Morata and Tiemoué Bakayoko still coming up to full fitness not to mention full familiarity with the team and the system, Conte has several though choices to make for Sunday’s game against Spurs.
What we do know is that Courtois will be in goal, Azpilicueta, David Luiz, and Rüdiger will play at the back, while Marcos Alonso, N’Golo Kanté, and Victor Moses will take their usual positions. Willian is likely to keep his starting spot as well as the only senior attacker fully fit.
There were some suggestions that David Luiz could move to midfield like he has done on multiple occasions under José Mourinho, but Conte has made it clear that he prefers the veteran center half to continue playing the anchoring/covering position in defence instead.
“In the past he played in midfield. I prefer David to play like a central defender. But he is available to play in different positions and it is a pleasure to have a player like this.”
If by some absolute necessity David Luiz does get pushed up into midfield, Andreas Christensen would likely deputize. Christensen himself could also play midfield, which he has done on a few occasions in the last couple seasons while out on loan at Borussia Mönchengladbach. Either way, Conte does claim to have full faith in the youngster, which is always nice to hear.
“I trust Christensen and I have already said that he is a player ready to play for Chelsea and I trust him. Last week he played a good game and showed a great personality. For sure he can improve a lot, he is a young player, but has a good prospect to be a Chelsea player.”
-Antonio Conte; source: West London Sport
That said, it’s much more likely that Conte ends up giving a debut to Tiemoué Bakayoko in midfield. While there is a chance that comes a bit too early for the summer signing, the situation is a bit of an emergency and he’s seemingly made some great strides in training this week both in terms of fitness and tactics.
Courtois | Rüdiger, David Luiz, Azpilicueta (c) | Alonso, Kanté, Bakayoko, Moses | Boga, Morata, Willian