Chelsea begin their title defence on Saturday, August 12, with an as-easy-as-it-gets fixture against Burnley in the English Premier League. Key players are however sitting out of the match. Will that be a major worry?
Eden Hazard (ankle injury), Pedro (ankle injury), Victor Moses (suspension) and Diego Costa (uncertain future) are major absentees for Chelsea and that does give Antonio Conte the license to do some experiments here and there.
Fortunately, the Blues face-off against Burnley, not that much of a formidable team. The Clarets stood 16th in the English Premier League last season.
German defender Antonio Rudiger could start the match for Chelsea.
While deciding on the defence and midfield wouldn't be that tough after all, Conte has his work cut out to decide who starts the match up front -- new boy Alvaro Morata or Michy Batshuayi, who was in an absolutely terrific form in the pre-season, scoring five times.
"It's a great possibility for Michy," said Conte. "He has played every [pre-season] game from the start and it's very important for him to play well.
"Michy is working very well, he is putting 120 per cent in every moment during the training session and during the game. We are talking about a young player. He needs to develop, but for sure he is trying to put his best in every moment of the day."
Conte has been using the 3-4-3 formation with perfection. While one of Morata or Batshuayi will definitely start up front, it remains to be seen who is deployed in one of the left forward roles in the match. With Hazard, Pedro and Moses out, and Loic Remy unlikely to start, we could very well witness both Morata and Batshuayi take the field along the same time.
Chelsea (3-4-3): Courtois; Rudiger, Cahill, David Luiz; Kante, Fabregas, Alonso, Azpilicueta; Willian, Batshuayi, Morata.
- Date: August 12
- Time: 3 pm BST (7:30 pm IST)
- Venue: Stamford Bridge
Where to watch live
India: TV - Star Sports Select 1 / HD. Live stream - Hotstar.
Spain: TV - Movistar.
Live streaming (subscription based) - Chelsea TV.
Live updates - Twitter.