They say a week`s a long time in politics. For this Chelsea team, the week following their heavy defeat at the hands of Watford must have seemed like an eternity.
Hopefully the three days the team were given off after, will have allowed them the chance to recharge their batteries. Those player`s will know that anything other than a victory will likely see Antonio Conte out of a job. Maybe that`s what they want. Maybe that what Conte really wants and almost certainly that`s what Roman Abramovich wants.
Conte`s time at Chelsea appears almost untenable. But he`s still picking the team, so in goal he`ll have Thibaut Courtois. The Belgian`s form has not been great following a recent spell on the sidelines, however he alone, was not responsible for those defeats. Continued speculation over his future though, has not helped the situation.
Cesar Azpilicueta would have felt real pain from the last two defeats and will be keen to make amends. The return of Andreas Christensen will be a big boost for the Italian.
Like Azpi, Gary Cahill will be looking for some retribution as captain of the current side. With much bigger fish to fry this month, Cahill`s inclusion is more about saving Rudiger than a show of faith in the Englishman.
Cahill`s time at Chelsea has seen him win every club trophy possible but his Chelsea career is, sadly, coming to an end.
In midfield N`golo Kante is undroppable, alongside Tiemoue Bakayoko and Cesc Fabregas he`s had to do the work of three men. The best bet for Conte would be to slot Danny Drinkwater in alongside the little Frenchman. They worked well together at Leicester City in 2015-16, it`s time they were given a chance to do the same with Chelsea.
Marcos Alonso missed the Watford game, so should come back into the side for this one as fresh as a daisy. Victor Moses has not had that good a season so far and Conte is putting more faith in his fellow countryman Davide Zappacosta, who will join Alonso in the wingback positions.
Four in midfield, means three upfront. Obviously Eden Hazard makes the cut. As he did in the Watford game, he can score a goal out of nothing, so must start. Still as unpopular on here as ever Willian will get the nod over Pedro, who like Moses isn`t having the best of times currently.
Up front and making his full debut has to be Olivier Giroud. The ex-Arsenal man will be looking to make an instant impact with Morata out of the picture for the foreseeable future, according to Conte.
There`s no reason for Conte to be worried or hesitant about playing Giroud. The Frenchman`s Premier League record speaks for itself. He`ll be itching to get amongst the goals for his new club.