Chelsea v Arsenal - Antonio Conte to play our strongest team - or not.

Chelsea take on Arsenal this evening in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg at Stamford Bridge and Antonio Conte's team selection ma...

Chelsea take on Arsenal this evening in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg at Stamford Bridge and Antonio Conte's team selection may not be as expected with Leicester City at home in the Premier League this weekend. 

Ten days after the classic at The Emirates and in light of Arsenal's shocking defeat (and performance) against Nottingham Forest on Sunday, general opinion is that both Antonio Conte and Arsene Wenger will field their strongest eleven as both realise that this is a genuine chance of silverware this season with the Premier League gone barring a complete collapse from Pep Guardiola's Manchester City.

So what is our strongest eleven and in what formation? As we have seen in the big games so far this year, Antonio Conte likes to play with the 3-5-1-1 formation adding an extra central midfielder into the team alongside N'Golo Kante to give Cesc Fabregas freedom to play and support the likes of Eden Hazard with Alvaro Morata. In both previous games against Arsenal he has adopted this formation. In addition, Arsenal has adopted the same 3-5-2 formation on both games and are expected to do so again this evening with both games ending in stalemate.

There are those that believe Chelsea to be at their strongest when we play the 3-4-3 formation on the front foot and looking to attack the opposition with pace playing two number tens in behind the main striker (or in some cases with a false nine and Eden Hazard, Pedro and Willian all starting), however that formation would see two holding midfielders play in the deeper role with no place in the starting eleven for Cesc Fabregas to play.

So what of tonight's game with Arsene Wenger still serving his touchline ban and his team coming here with injuries coupled with a wave of criticism, it's a real chance for Chelsea to try and take advantage. In doing so, I would like us to really attack Arsenal in the 3-4-3 formation with N'Golo Kante and Danny Drinkwater starting next to each other to provide that solid base in the middle.

I would play with Eden Hazard and Willian in support of Alvaro Morata, Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses as our wing-backs, with Andreas Christensen playing alongside Cesar Azpilicueta and Gary Cahill in front of Thibaut Courtois.


Antonio Conte has spoken ahead of the game and has once again spoken of rotating his team. He said:

"From the start of the season we tried to find a good balance and give the right chances to everyone.

In this competition it was important for us because we played these games with a young player. At the same time we played with a strong team.

Our run wasn’t easy, we have played Everton, Bournemouth and now Arsenal.

Tomorrow is another opportunity to make rotations compared to the last game. But we want to win the game." - Source.

Could the boss decide to rotate his team but some of those that started against Norwich keeping thier places in the side as we look to Leicester on Saturday? Do you think the likes of Toni Rudiger, David Luiz, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Pedro and Michy Batshuayi have a chance to start instead?

What would you do with this game tonight? What formation and who would start for you?

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