CONTE: I prefer all my players show me every single day that they deserve to play.
Antonio Conte spoke to the assembled media in his pre-match press conference yesterday and when asked if he he would make any changes to...
Antonio Conte spoke to the assembled media in his pre-match press conference yesterday and when asked if he he would make any changes to the side that beat Leicester last weekend he offered no clues if he would.
As you can imagine, any changes to incorporate Diego Costa's return to the side after injury would be harsh on the players who put in a fantastic performance. Two players have come under scrutiny ahead of this one Pedro and Willian and you have to admit, it's hard to drop either of them however Conte has spoken of the fact that he does not like the term "untouchable" to describe any of his players.
When asked of Diego Costa walking straight back into the side as Conte was insistent that if he did, it's not because he is an automatic pick when he is available. He said:
"I don't like this word, 'untouchable. You prove you should play a game in training sessions and you have to prove you should start. I prefer all my players show me every single day that they deserve to play on Sunday. For me, that's important. From my career, I learnt this.” - Source: The Telegraph.
So what of a possible change to the line-up tomorrow afternoon? I had asked the question on the website earlier in the week if Diego Costa should start or settle for a place on the bench?, however I have been thinking about things over the last few days and with Brentford at home in the FA Cup next week (Costa likely to be dropped to the bench in favour of Michy Batshuayi) and two big Premier League games coming up against Liverpool followed by Arsenal, it's vital that he starts tomorrow to shake off any cobwebs and to get his focus back to playing.
So who should Antonio Conte drop to the bench? Should it be Pedro or Willian? The general consensus of opinion is that Willian will be the player that is forced to make way and that is hard on the Brazilian who has been playing fantastically well of late. Willian has made an important contribution this season with his goals and his overall play so it would be harsh.
As for Pedro, how could you afford to leave him out at all this season? After a season of struggle, Pedro has really found his feet under Conte and finally, Chelsea fans are beginning to see the player we used to watch at Barcelona week in, week out.
I personally feel that Pedro will start with Costa ahead of Willian because of his pace and his work rate without ball. Do not get me wrong here, Willian deserves plenty of plaudits for the work he puts into every game but it's Pedro's pace that allows him to close people down quickly within their own half that nudges him in front of the Brazilian.