Antonio Conte faces a selection dilemma over his midfield when Chelsea host West Brom on Sunday (11 December), after the Italian boss revealed that Nemanja Matic is available again. Cesc Fabregas excelled in the absence of the Serbian during the 3-1 victory over Manchester City and the boss admits he has now to decide whether to keep the Spaniard in his line-up to face the Tony Pulis's overachievers.
N'Golo Kante and Matic impressed in the middle of the 3-4-3 Conte's formation during a six-game winning run, but the Italian boss was forced to replace the Serbian with Fabregas against City due to a calf injury. The former Barcelona and Arsenal star seized the opportunity with both hands, setting up Diego Costa's equaliser and inspiring the Blues comeback over Pep Guardiola's side.
Willian also played a key role in that win, scoring just minutes after replacing Pedro.
Conte admits the situation has given him a headache ahead of the visit of West Brom, pointing out that Nathaniel Chalobah is also ready to provide competition for Fabregas, Kante and Matic in midfield.
"I hope to have this difficult decision in every game, it means I have great competition in my squad and the level is improving," Conte said in the press conference ahead of the game with West Brom. "Cesc played a good game against City and took his opportunity. Now for the next game I have a choice of four midfielders – Kante, Matic, Fabregas and Chalobah - and I have to take the best decision for the team.
"It's very important that we have good competition. If I have to put out the same line-up it's not good."
Conte also suggested that he may start to rotate his squad ahead of the busy festive period. The game with West Brom will be the first of three in the space of a week as Chelsea visit Sunderland on Wednesday before a trip to Crystal Palace on Saturday (17 December).
"We'll have three games in seven days so it's important to have all the players in good form," Conte admitted. "I could take the decision to rotate but the most important thing now is to think game by game."
"Now it's West Bromwich Albion, it's important to be fully concentrated on that game. After that it's important to determine if we have any new injuries or if I see a player is tired or not. To tell now if I will rotate is very difficult."
Meanwhile, the boss confirmed that John Terry remains available, while Oscar is sick.