Antonio Conte will reunite former Leicester City duo N’Golo Kante and Danny Drinkwater in midfield against Manchester United, according to reports.
Drinkwater, who begun his footballing career at Man United, hasn’t started a Premier League game this season due to a calf problem.
And Kante has been absent for the Blues ever since the October international break and will be assessed by medical staff ahead of the clash with Jose Mourinho’s men.
According to the Guardian‘s Dominic Fifield, Conte has used the pair in training together in preparation for Sunday’s game and will hope that reigniting the partnership that rocketed Leicester to the title in 2016 will rectify Chelsea’s recent porousness that saw them lose 3-0 to Roma earlier in the week.
This tactical switch can be easily interpreted as a measure of caution predicated by a recent lack of stability in the middle at Chelsea. In other words, Conte is backing into his shell here. Would he have done this last season?
And just imagine the media reaction if Mourinho willingly put two defensive midfielders together – something he will have to do on Sunday out of necessity – for a clash with a top six rival?
And yet, at the same time, such a move makes sense for the Italian. He simply cannot afford another disjointed display in the middle, especially when going up against the indomitable Nemanja Matic, and will hope pitting together the aforementioned pair will give the hitherto underwhelming Tiemoue Bakayoko a chance to surge forward.