Chelsea partially messed up their last gasp opportunity of qualifying for the Champions League by drawing against Huddersfield Town. Antonio Conte decided to rest the duo of Olivier Giroud and Eden Hazard and the move backfired as the Blues struggled for any sort of creativity until they were introduced as substitutes. Now, Chelsea need to win against Newcastle United and hope that Brighton & Hove Albion cause a major upset against Liverpool.
Thibaut Courtois will be back between the sticks for this game and it would be a good time for him to build some confidence ahead of the FA Cup final.
Cesar Azpilicueta will take up his spot on the right-hand side of the defensive trio. Gary Cahill will lead from the centre and will have the responsibility of marshalling the backline as keeping a clean sheet would give them the best opportunity to win this match. Antonio Rudiger will complete the trio and his diagonal balls will come in handy against Newcastle.
Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses will start as the two wingbacks in this five-man midfield. Their attacking play has been scintillating this season but their defensive positioning could definitely be better. Alonso and Moses will be relishing at the fact that they have a target man in Giroud to send their crosses into the box.
N’Golo Kante will station himself in front of the defence and look to win the ball back and start off counter attacks as is his basic gameplay. He provides a sense of urgency in this Chelsea team that looks so devoid of inspiration at times. Tiemoue Bakayako has endured a horrific season. However, the Frenchman has a chance of ending the season on a high.
If he delivers a decent performance against the Magpies, Bakayako could be considered for a starting place in the FA Cup final against Manchester United. Cesc Fabregas will sit at the tip of the midfield trio. He will be relieved of his defensive duties and would be asked to provide regular creativity and to feed the forwards with his incisive passes.
Eden Hazard will be given a free role behind Olivier Giroud. Hazard will drift across the attacking line and will look to bring his teammates into play and will definitely be menacing whenever Chelsea start a counter-attack. Giroud, on the other hand, will provide another dimension in attack with his heading ability and his sublime touches in the penalty box.