Chelsea will be hoping to get their first win of 2018 at the fifth time of asking when they face Norwich City at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday evening.
Their meeting with the Canaries is an FA Cup Third Round replay, after the English Premier League champions were held to a goalless draw at Carrow Road by the Sky Bet Championship side earlier this month.
Blues boss Antonio Conte is expected to make several changes to rest key players and give others an opportunity to prove themselves.
Here is how we predict The Blues could line-up against Norwich City at Stamford Bridge.
Predicted line-up (3-4-3): Willy Caballero; Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Antonio Rudiger; Davide Zappacosta, Danny Drinkwater, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Kenedy; Willian, Michy Batshuayi, Pedro
Predicted substitutes: Eduardo, Dujon Sterling, Andreas Christensen, Ethan Ampadu, Charly Musonda, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Alvaro Morata
With important matches against Brighton and Hove Albion and Arsenal coming up in the next week for The Blues, Thibaut Courtois may be given the night off with second-choice stopper Willy Caballero, who has been used in four of the club’s five domestic cup matches this season, likely to come into the side.
The injury suffered to Gary Cahill during the goalless draw against Leicester City makes him a major doubt for the cup tie, which will have affected Conte’s rotational plans. Therefore, David Luiz could be the only change to the back three with Cesar Azpilicueta and Antonio Rudiger likely to keep their places either side of the incoming Luiz.
Davide Zappacosta could be given a chance to prove his worth against The Canaries and with the side currently in bleak form, a good performance from the Italian could increase his amount of first team opportunities.
Conte’s expected rotation leads us to believe that The Blues will return to their English Premier League winning formation of 3-4-3; Danny Drinkwater could be called up to the starting side to partner Tiemoue Bakayoko in the middle of midfield, which would see N’Golo Kante miss out on a place in the XI while Cesc Fabregas is likely to be sidelined by injury.
Brazilian Kenedy may start at left wing-back to give Spaniard Marcos Alonso a rare rest, despite being heavily linked with a move away from the club.
The forward partnership of Alvaro Morata and Eden Hazard have been struggling for form in recent weeks and we predict that the understudy trio of Willian, Michy Batshuayi and Pedro could all come into side.
After scoring a hat-trick in the Under 23s’ 5-0 victory against Sunderland on Sunday, 17-year-old winger Callum Hudson-Odoi may have earned himself a place on The Blues’ bench for the Third Round replay.
January signing Ross Barkley is ineligible to feature against The Canaries after joining The Blues following the registration deadline.
Score Prediction: Chelsea 3-1 Norwich City
By Jonty Colman