Working out who Antonio Conte will select for his final Premier League line-up is a difficult one.
With next weekend’s FA Cup final date with Arsenal looming in the distance for Chelsea, the Italian manager would be forgiven for resting all of his big names against Sunderland on Sunday. Then again, perhaps Conte would prefer to maintain his side’s momentum ahead of the meeting with Arsenal next week.
His starting line-up for the game against Watford on Monday was certainly full of fringe players, but the likes of Eden Hazard, N’Golo Kanté, Willian and César Azpilicueta all played the entire 90 minutes.
It’d be surprising to see those four start again for the Champions, and you’d expect the team that hosts the already relegated Black Cats to be similar to the one that took to the field earlier in the week, but there could still be a few big names on show.
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Asmir Begović will be in goal, and Michy Batshuayi will almost certainly continue up front in place of Diego Costa, while John Terry is another shoe-in for a starting berth. It’ll be the Blues’ captain’s final game at Stamford Bridge — expect him to be taken off to a standing ovation after about 85 minutes.
Nemanja Matić could come in for Kanté, with Pedro in for Hazard, while Cesc Fabregas could get a start ahead of Nathan Chalobah.
The XI Conte chooses for Chelsea’s coronation on Sunday will point heavily towards his starting line-up for the Cup final against the Gunners — Arsene Wenger take note.