Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth will be hosted by league leaders Chelsea, who will be without 2 of their most important players.
In his pre-match press conference, Antonio Conte assured that there were no new injury concerns for the squad, so only John Terry would be missing today’s game. The 36-year-old has since returned to full training, but it is unlikely that he will feature tonight.
Diego Costa and N’golo Kante will both be missing the tie due to suspension, which means that Cesc Fabregas and Michy Batshuayi, both of whom have had to spend most of the season on the sidelines, are in line to be handed rare starts today.
Whilst Cesc Fabregas has proved his importance over the past few weeks while given the chance, this game holds much more importance for Michy Batshuayi, who despite making 10 Premier League appearances this season, never started a game.
However, Conte made no promises to start the Belgian international. “I have four days to evaluate the situation and find the best solution for the team. Diego is an important player for us but in this squad I can have different solutions for his replacement and we are working on this aspect.”
He said that is was a good test for his side to play without the suspended duo and so, it was important that he evaluated all his options, before adding,”It is the chance to play a player who is not playing a lot or to find another solution. What my eye is seeing in this week is very important.”
Batshuayi coming in for Costa as the sole striker would be the simplest option, but Conte could also opt for a 3-5-2 formation with Hazard upfront. This would also allow Nathaniel Chalobah or Ruben Loftus-Cheek to get a look in, but a deviation from the usual formation is unlikely.