Chelsea have had two weeks to stew on the disappointment of being beaten at home by Manchester City but they have the ideal chance to get their Premier League campaign back on track with a trip to Crystal Palace on Saturday.
The Eagles are currently bottom of the table and, seven games into the campaign, have yet to score a goal. What’s more, their stand-out player of the season so far has been Blues loanee Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who is unable to feature at Selhurst Park against his parent club.
But the international break wasn’t kind on Chelsea who lost N’Golo Kanté to injury. The French star limped off with a thigh problem while playing for France and is set to miss the trip.
The pair should start together but it’s an untried pairing and the Spaniard is often caught out positionally when trying to defend. Conte could, if he wanted to keep things tight, move David Luiz back into midfield as he did against Tottenham Hotspur in August. But it’s unlikely given Palace’s woeful form.
There was better news this week for the Blues as top scorer Álvaro Morata returned to training. The striker limped out of the defeat to Manchester City with a hamstring injury and it was initially believed he’d be kept out for up to a month.
But the injury wasn’t as bad as first feared and the Spaniard could return to the squad against the Eagles. Whether he is ready to start, however, is another question. And if the answer is no, then Michy Batshuayi should be given an opportunity to impress.
The Belgian frontman will spearhead an attack that will include Eden Hazard and one of Pedro or Willian. But expect Conte to plump for the former as the Brazilian star has struggled for form this season. He also would’ve returned from international duty later the Pedro after having to fly back from South America.
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