But Pat Nevin thinks he’s found a solution for the Spain international’s absence.
Costa picked up his fifth booking of the season in last weekend’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.
And that ruled him out of Bournemouth‘s Boxing Day visit to Stamford Bridge.
“Cesar Azpilicueta could play as a centre-forward because he clearly can play absolutely anywhere with no discernible impact on the quality of his output!”
Chelsea legend Pat Nevin hails Cesar Azpilicueta’s versatility
Summer signing Michy Batshuayi has been tipped to make his first Premier League start against Eddie Howe’s Cherries.
Although Chelsea legend Nevin has offered a tongue-in-cheek alternative to the former Marseille hitman.
Writing for the Blues’ official website, he wrote: “Cesar Azpilicueta could play as a centre-forward because he clearly can play absolutely anywhere with no discernible impact on the quality of his output!”
Azpilicueta has played across Chelsea’s defence since arriving in west London four years ago.
And, despite Nevin’s suggestion, he’s likely to remain in Conte’s back three when Bournemouth come to town.
Chelsea sit nine points clear at the top of the table heading into a busy festive period.
They can extend that lead to 12 providing they beat Bournemouth and results elsewhere go their way.