Chelsea aim to make it six points from six as they take on Watford in the Premier League this weekend.
The Blues beat rivals West Ham 2-1 at Stamford Bridge on Monday night, with new manager Antonio Conte getting his spell off to a perfect start.
But continuing winning ways against Watford, under the guidance of nemesis Walter Mazzarri, won’t be simple for Conte.
So who might the Italian start against the Hornets?
Two years ago, we could close our eyes and name Jose Mourinho’s starting eleven with almost unerring accuracy week in and week out.
Barring injuries, the back four was Azpilicueta, Terry, Cahill, and Ivanovic, shielded by a double pivot of Matic and Fabregas, with the trio of Hazard, Oscar, and Willian supporting Diego Costa up top. Courtois was in goal, and the likes of Schurrle and Ramires and Mikel provided options off the bench.
In any case, that’s a long-winded introduction to the situation at Chelsea currently, which appears to have an already settled starting eleven after just a few weeks of preseason and one league game.
Check out our predicted Chelsea XI below.
Goalkeeper: Thibaut Courtois is expected to keep his place between the sticks this weekend. There is no doubt about this one. Though Asmir Begovic is a decent enough keeper, he will not start over Courtois if Chelsea FC have anything to play for.
Defence: Conte played a flat back four in his first competitive game against West Ham on Monday night. With Kurt Zouma still out with a knee injury and no new centre-back signed as yet, I think we’ll see four at the back again on Saturday.
Conte has very few options to mix things up so it looks like Gary Cahill will continue alongside John Terry in the middle of defence with Branislav Ivanovic and Cesar Azpilicueta keeping their places in the full-back positions.Midfield: Cesc Fabregas was left out of the starting eleven against West Ham but we might see the Spaniard recalled on Saturday. Oscar is the man most likely to drop out with Nemanja Matic and N’Golo Kante keeping their places.
N’Golo Kante was one of the biggest reasons why Leicester City were able to win the league, and now he has come to Chelsea to help do the same. With Kante shielding the defense, a second defensive midfielder would cause terrible flashbacks of the John Obi Mikel and Matic pairing. Conte is far more attack-oriented than Guus Hiddink ever was, so Fabregas will get the start and be given the task of pulling the strings like what Conte had Andrea Pirlo do at Juventus.
Conte is far more attack-oriented than Guus Hiddink ever was, so Fabregas will get the start and be given the task of pulling the strings like what Conte had Andrea Pirlo do at Juventus.
Attack: Eden Hazard was back to his best against the Hammers and he’ll be looking to continue that form into this weekend. He will start not only this game, but every game that he is healthy for as long as he maintains this level. Willian should keep his place on the right wing while Diego Costa should feel fortunate he’s not suspended for this game after escaping a certain sending off last time out.
The likes of Pedro and summer signing Michy Batshuayi will be among the substitutes and offer Conte options from the bench.