Arguably Chelsea’s two most important players, Diego Costa and N’golo Kante will miss Chelsea’s next match which will take place on boxing day because they each picked up their fifth booking of the season.
Cost and Kante picked up their fifth bookings of the season during their last victory over crystal palace, a match that ended in a 1-0 victory in Chelsea’s favor. Chelsea’s Boxing Day match will be against Bournemouth and Chelsea manager Antonio Conte will already be having selection headaches ahead of the game.
An option for the manager will be Michy Batshuayi. Bashuayi was signed for £33.2 million from Marseille in the summer. However, he has found premier league appearances hard to come by and has only found solace in EFL cup matches. So, if given the chance, he will most likely grab it with both hands. Though he has netted just once in the premier league this term – in Chelsea’s draw against Watford – he scored 23 goals in 50 matches for Marseille last season.
Another option for Conte is 19-year-old Dominic Solanke – an Englishman. Conte might as well want to try a ‘false nine’ and if he does so, Pedro, Eden Hazard or Cesc Fabregas will be suitable for such a role.
Replacing Kante may most likely mean that Chelsea will have to forgo a more reserved approach to their last 3 matches and embrace a more creative approach. If their Italian boss agrees to this change of tactics, then, a very good option will be Fabregas.
Though, this would mean that Nemanja Matic will have to cover more defensive grounds than usual. This though will not be a problem, since Matic has displayed the sort of form he showed during Chelsea’s title-winning season of 2014-15.
If the real secret to Chelsea’s wins is their conservative approach, then, the natural replacements for Kante will be John Obi Mikel, Nathaniel Chalobah or Ruben Loftus-Cheek.