Chelsea host Brentford tonight for their fourth round FA Cup clash
Antonio Conte does not have any fresh injury concerns going into the game but is expected to heavily rotate his squad for the fixture.
Gary Cahill will likely be rested after suffering a head injury during a gruesome clash with Ryan Mason during Chelsea’s English Premier League fixture against Hull. The pair clashed heads while competing for the ball and Ryan Mason was hospitalised with a skull fracture as a result.
Conte admitted after the game that Cahill was still dazed at half time and despite the Englishman playing on, it is likely that the Chelsea manager will not risk him for this tie, especially after the criticism he received for allowing Cahill to play on at half time.
This means Kurt Zouma will likely feature for Chelsea as he is now completely fit. The French international has made only one appearance for Chelsea this season and this represents a good situation for Antonio Conte to try him out in an unfamiliar 3-4-3 formation.
Nathan Ake could also make his first start for Chelsea this season after being recalled from his loan at Bournemouth, as Branislav Ivanovic is on the verge of a move to Zenit – despite being included in the squad – and Cesar Azpilicueta will likely be rested.
Cesc Fabregas is also in line for a start after another impressive cameo against Hull City during Chelsea’s last match. The Spaniard came off the bench to assist Chelsea’s second goal with a perfectly weighted free-kick and although Conte does not start him in every game, he still considers him an important player.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek will likely partner Fabregas in midfield as Conte will rotate heavily, while Nathaniel Chalobah is likely to deputise for Eden Hazard. Willian is also expected to start the game and his presence will add some experience to the youthful side Conte is expected to field.
Ola Aina is also in line for a start in order to give Victor Moses some much-needed rest and will slot into the right wing-back position that Moses has made his own. Asmir Begovic is on the verge of a move to Bournemouth – although he has also been included in the squad – so Thibaut Courtois will definitely start this game.
Provisional Squad : Courtois, Begovic, Ivanovic, Alonso, Fabregas, Zouma, Kante, Hazard, Loftus-Cheek, Moses, Pedro, Costa, Matic, Willian, Batshuayi, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta, Chalobah, Luiz, Eduardo, Aina, Ake