Antonio Conte and Chelsea head to Yorkshire to face Hull City in the Premier League, as both teams look to start the month on a positive note after failing to register a victory in September.
Chelsea will be without the services of John Terry and Jon Obi Mikel. The Chelsea captain is yet to recover from an injury he suffered against Swansea a few weeks ago. Conte confirmed in his pre-match press conference on Chelsea’s official website that the former England captain will return after the upcoming international break. “He’s not available because he’s not recovered from his ankle injury,” added the Blues boss. “I think we will see him after the international break,” he said. He also went on to confirm that all the other players were available.
Conte also went on to say that Gary Cahill would be featuring today against Hull. The England international has been under fire from his performances this season and it was widely expected that he would be dropped in favour of John Terry. But with Terry ruled out, Conte confirmed that Cahill would retain his place in the heart of Chelsea’s defence. It was an error from Cahill that allowed Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez to open the scoring last week, but the Italian refused to point fingers at his player. “When we lose, we lose together and not because of a single mistake. There was a mistake but we had 80 minutes to recover and repair the mistake and we didn’t,” he said before adding, “Gary Cahill is a great player and a great defender and I trust him. He plays at Hull.”
Last week against Arsenal, Conte switched his formation midway through the game to incorporate 3 center backs in his formation, with Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta pushing forward on the wings. That seemed to do the trick for the Blues and they managed to hold Arsenal off, but by then the damage had already been done. It will be interesting to see whether the Italian will choose to test this formation out against Hull City, rather than use it as a last ditch effort to prevent the leakage in Chelsea’s defence.