Chelsea could return to the English Premier League’s top four when they face Huddersfield Town on Wednesday.
A win over The Terriers will ensure that The Blues will move level on points with Liverpool, but if Tottenham Hotspur lose at home to Newcastle United on Wednesday, Chelsea will move above their arch-rivals.
Huddersfield Town are also in desperate need of points in their bid to avoid being relegated back to the Sky Bet Championship. David Wagner’s side are currently three points clear of the bottom three, but their final two matches are against Chelsea and Arsenal, so they need to claw a point from either of those matches to ensure survival.
Ahead of this ‘six-pointer’ that will affect both ends of the English Premier League table, we predict how The Blues could line-up when they host Town at Stamford Bridge for the first time in the league since February 1984.
Predicted line-up (3-5-2): Thibaut Courtois; Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger; Victor Moses, N’Golo Kante, Cesc Fabregas, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Marcos Alonso; Alvaro Morata, Eden Hazard
Predicted substitutes: Willy Caballero, Gary Cahill, Emerson Palmieri, Ross Barkley, Willian, Pedro, Olivier Giroud
In the reverse fixture at the John Smith’s Stadium in December, goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was just minutes away from keeping a clean sheet in his first ever match against Huddersfield Town but Laurent Depoitre’s late header denied him that opportunity. Having kept back-to-back clean sheets for the first since time since January, the Belgian stopper will be aiming to shutout the opposition for the third game in a row, a feat he last managed in November.
Captain Gary Cahill has been indispensable during Chelsea’s recent run of wins; however, Antonio Conte could elect to rest the English centre-back ahead of their final game of the season against Newcastle United on Sunday. Likely to replace Cahill would be Andreas Christensen, who will be hoping to get some game time during The Blues’ final three matches of the season, in a bid to earn a spot in the Denmark squad for next month’s FIFA World Cup in Russia. Cesar Azpilicueta and Antonio Rudiger are expected to retain their places.
During Sunday’s 1-0 win over Liverpool, Victor Moses continued his recent run of form by providing the assist for Olivier Giroud’s first half header. The Nigerian is set to keep his place in the side ahead of Davide Zappacosta.
The midfield trio of N’Golo Kante, Cesc Fabregas and Tiemoue Bakayoko have all started together during The Blues’ last two matches. With wins and clean sheets in both of those, it will be very surprising to see any of them left out of the side to face The Terriers on Wednesday.
Spaniard Marcos Alonso will be hoping that he proved his worth during his return from suspension against The Reds. The PFA Team of the Year defender is in line to start ahead of Emerson Palmieri.
Having missed the Liverpool match through injury, Conte may opt to recall Alvaro Morata back to The Blues attack in order to spare Giroud for the trip to Newcastle United at the weekend. Morata is likely to be partnered by Eden Hazard, who has been named Man of the Match twice and provided two assists in his past three appearances.
Although both teams will be urgently fighting for victory, Chelsea’s recent form is going to make them incredibly difficult to break down.
Score Prediction: Chelsea 2-0 Huddersfield Town