Antonio Conte’s Chelsea took a step closer to the Premier League title after a thumping victory over Middlesbrough in the previous round. They play two games in the next four days as they face Watford at home, just a couple of days after travelling to the Hawthorns this weekend.
A victory in the game against the Baggies can actually seal the title race this weekend and Antonio Conte will want his side to put in their best performances for one last time this season. The Baggies are fresh from a draw at the Turf Moor and are expected to settle for a similar result in this game. But Conte will go for the kill. Here is the predicted lineup he might field for this tie:
The Blues have no new injury issues ahead of this game. Midfielder N Golo Kante missed the last game but is expected to be back, at least on the bench this weekend. He remains the only absentee for Chelsea.
Expected lineup (3-4-3):
Belgian shot-stopper Thibaut Courtois has done a great job for Chelsea this season and is expected to start this game between the sticks. The back line of Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz and Gary Cahill is one of the most effective in the top flight in England this season and Conte has no reason to tinker with it for this game against West Brom.
The Blues have a strong midfield in their squad and have enough options, even if Kante is not fit to start this game. Serbian international Nemanja Matic has done a decent job alongside Kante regularly and Fabregas in the previous game, he is expected to keep his place in the middle of the park for Chelsea.
Spanish midfielder Fabregas is in fine form and Conte should not have a problem starting him ahead of N Golo Kante if the French midfielder is not fully fit. The wing-back duo of Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses has done its job to perfection this season and should keep their place in the side for this game.
Conte has used a regular front three of Diego Costa, Eden Hazard and Pedro. The Spanish winger has been preferred over Willian in recent times and it is hard to see Conte change his methods.
Willian has been decent but Pedro should start on the right wing while Eden Hazard will hog the left-flank. They will be responsible for adding width to the attack while Costa is expected to shoulder the goal scoring responsibilities.
This is how they would line up: