Chelsea travel to bottom faced Crystal Palace when the Premier League returns to action this weekend.
The fellow Londoners are languishing at the bottom of the table after 7 games with 0 points on board and have not even scored yet. The sacking of Frank De Boer and his replacement Roy Hodgson has not brought them luck either.
Usually, Chelsea would not be heavily concerned about facing such teams but they have much to ponder in this one as they have a few underlying problems of their own to deal with.
Chelsea lost to Manchester City before the International break which put them 5 points behind the runaway Manchester sides. To make matters worse, Morata suffered an Injury in the first half against Pep Guardiola’s side and is ruled out for a few weeks. The international break is notorious for injuries and N’Golo Kante was not spared by it as he suffered a hamstring injury as well while on duty for France. The PFA player of the year is likely to miss up to 8 weeks of action and Chelsea must be extremely worried about their potential replacements.
Tiemoue Bakayoko, who was brought on from AS Monaco as a direct replacement for Nemanja Matic, to partner Kante in midfield will now be the one to replace him and play in his role.
Chelsea are currently short on options in midfield and Cesc Fabregas, despite his poor displays in a two-man midfield will have to start with Bakayoko as new recruit Danny Drinkwater continues on his road to achieving match fitness.
Another option that could be utilized for Chelsea is to play the returning David Luiz in midfield. He was extremely effective in that role against Tottenham at Wembley early in the season and with Christensen’s strong performances at the back, it would not hurt to give him an extended run in the side.
As for Alvaro Morata, Chelsea have a direct replacement in the form of Belgian Michy Batshuayi but the manager does not seem to trust him completely yet. This was evident from the fact that he chose to bring Willian on against City despite having Batshuayi available.
The Belgian, however, scored for Belgium against Bosnia-Herzegovina and if Conte ever wants to test him now would be the perfect opportunity against the League’s current worst side.
However, the possibility that Conte starts with a front three of Pedro, Willian and Hazard cannot be ignored. He did that when Costa missed a few games last season and it worked to a devastating effect with a combination of pace and trickery.
The Football Fan Base view:
Crystal Palace are struggling right now and it would be perfect to provide Michy with an opportunity. He has 5 goals already this season including the all-important winner at the Wanda Metropolitano against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League. The striker is just devoid of confidence and if Morata is, in fact, facing a lengthy lay-off, now would be the best time to test Michy and help him build confidence. As for Kante’s replacement, Cesc Fabregas is the obvious option to partner Bakayoko but starting Luiz along with Bakayoko could give Chelsea much more needed dynamism and legs in the midfield and it also provides Andreas Christensen the chance to continue after some impressive performances at the back.