Though the Reds from the Merseyside are ruling the points table, it is hard to deny that Antonio Conte’s Chelsea were the in-form side going into the international break. An impressive 5-0 victory over Everton gave them their 5th consecutive victory lifting them into the 2nd spot and the 5 clean sheets they kept in these games makes their recent performances all the more impressive. A visit to a newly promoted side will never be easy and Chelsea takes on Middlesbrough at the Riverside this weekend after the international break. Aitor Karanka’s side have picked up 5 points in the last 3 games including hard fought draws over Arsenal and Manchester City and will surely be a tough test for the Blues from London.
Here is the predicted lineup that Conte might field for this game:
The manager was dealt a blow early in the international break after Diego Costa was withdrawn from Spain’s games during the break. However, he is expected to be back in action and should take his place in the starting XI. But Eden Hazard, who limped off during Belgium’s win over Estonia gave the manager and the fans some good news declaring himself fit for the weekend. Cesc Fabregas and Kurt Zouma might find places on the bench while Loftus-Cheek is ruled out.
The Belgian had a comfortable international break and will be back in action this weekend and will be looking for a 6th consecutive clean sheet this season.
The Spaniard has been superb at the back for Chelsea this season and he will keep his place in the side as a part of the 3-man defense for Conte.
Thriving at the heart of the Chelsea defense, David Luiz has been exceptional in these last few games and will hope to have a comfortable night at the Riverside.
Getting among the goals against Everton, Cahill is currently high on confidence and will keep his place in the side for this weekend.
The Nigerian winger turned wing-back has made some impressive contributions to the side and will keep his place for this game.
Though not extraordinary, Matic has been decent in the middle of the pitch for Chelsea controlling the tempo of the game and he will have a difficult night against an energetic Boro side at the weekend.
The EURO16 finalist, Kante, has carried his form into this season and has been superb for Chelsea in the midfield. He will have an important job to do in this game against Middlesbrough.
Settling well into a wing-back role in the Premier League, Alonso has contributed to the team at both ends of the field in recent games and should keep his place in the side.
The Spaniard has been preferred to Willian in recent games and should start for Chelsea in this game against Middlesbrough.
Conte seems to have found a winning formula for Chelsea this season and though Hazard is just back from injury, he is a part of the formula and should start this game for the side.
Having been declared fit for this game after an injury scare early in the break, Costa will hope to get back to scoring ways in this game against Boro.