Antonio Conte is intending to make a late decision on how his attack will line up tonight at Arsenal.
The Blues need to score a goal if we are to progress to the Carabao Cup final without being subjected to a second penalty shoot-out in eight days, with the first leg of this semi-final a fortnight ago having finished 0-0, but then so do the Gunners.
We embark on the quest for the breakthrough in the tie without Alvaro Morata, who Conte has revealed would have missed the weekend game at Brighton even if he had not been suspended.
‘If you rememeber in the past, Morata stopped because of a pain in his back and now it came back the day before Brighton,’ Conte reported. ‘I hope it is nothing serious but this is the second time he stopped.
‘Now with the medical department he is trying to solve this problem and to have a training session without this pain. This is the real problem now, not because he is not scoring or because his confidence is down, because for every striker you can pass this type of moment. Now the real problem is he has to overcome this problem with his back and I hope we can overcome it quickly because we need Alvaro’s commitment.’
With our leading scorer out, it seems the most likely options are to retain the forward line of Willian, Michy Batshuayi and Eden Hazard from the 4-0 win on the South Coast on Saturday, or incorporate Pedro who is back available after a one-match ban.
‘Every player has had the chances to play and to show me their value,’ said Conte, ‘and now I have to make the best decision for the team. Every game is different, the quality of your opponent is different and I have make the best decision and use every player in the best way.
‘Our job is not simple and you have to make the best decisions every time for the team and try to improve your players. Sometimes we are able, sometimes not, but the most important is to try to do your best to reach this target.’
If a new striker is signed during the ongoing transfer window, it is likely Batshuayi will go out on loan according to Conte, as the player wants the opportunity to play regularly, a wish the boss can understand. Talking generally on that aspect of squad management, he said:
‘We have to try in every moment to be honest with our players. I don’t know if another striker arrives but in this case, I don’t want to send away one player but a lot of times it is the player who prefers to go away and have the possibility to play regularity, but then the player has to show that he deserves to play every game.’