Chelsea continue to dominate the Premier League – Boxing Day’s victory over Bournemouth marked their 12th in a row.
The Blues’ red hot form has put them six points clear at the top and it’s an opportunity for another three points for Antonio Conte as New Year’s Eve brings Mark Hughes’ Stoke City to Stamford Bridge.
Here’s a line up the Italian could go with.
Chelsea’s ever-present stopper will once again take up his position between the sticks.
Why change a winning formula? Chelsea’s back three have been so solid during their 12-game win streak – the Blues have only conceded two goals over the course of that run and kept an impressive 10 clean sheets.
David Luiz looks a different player compared to his first stint with the club and Cesar Azpilicueta is Chelsea’s Mr. Reliable.
Conte can welcome back N’Golo Kante from suspension for the clash. The Frenchman wasn’t exactly missed against Bournemouth but he should be brought straight back into the starting line up in place of Cesc Fabregas.
He will probably partner Nemanja Matic, who Conte seems to prefer over the Spaniard – the Serb has justified his selection this season with some fine performances in the centre of the park.
On the flanks, Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso will continue in their right and left-wing back positions respectively. The duo have been so effective in Conte’s new system, dropping to make a back five when Chelsea are without the ball, while simultaenously offering attacking potential going forward.
Chelsea’s frontline will welcome back main man Diego Costa up top. The Spaniard has served his one-game ban and will start up front with Eden Hazard shifting back out to the left.
The Belgian was imperious against Bournemouth as a false nine but will no doubt make way for the returning natural centre-forward Costa. Support could be offered from the right side by Willian, who is likely to get the nod given that Pedro is suspended.