Chelsea have the opportunity to return to winning ways in the Premier League when they entertain Watford on the road on Boxing Day. The Blues come into the game on the back of a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Leicester City and this sees them hanging onto the final Champions League qualification spot ahead of Arsenal on only goal difference.
Blues boss Maurizio Sarri has generally relied with an unchanged backline for the Premier League duties and it could be more of the same against the Hornets.
In this case, Kepa Arrizabalaga should feature in goal with Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso dropping into the full-back positions, though we anticipate a change at the heart of the backline.
Antonio Rudiger has recently been the busier of the two central defenders after participating in the League Cup quarter final earlier in the month and he could be the one to make way.
In his absence, we are fancying a maiden start of the season for Gary Cahill, who could be paired alongside David Luiz, who was his regular partner during the title triumph in the 2016/17 season.
Meanwhile, in the midfield, it could be more of the same with N’Golo Kante and Jorginho on the field but Mateo Kovacic may be dropped after struggling to get his passing game going in the recent defeat to the Foxes.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ross Barkley remain the probable options to replace him and we are predicting the former to start from the off, given he offers the additional physical aspects to tackle the Watford side consisting of Doucoure and Capoue.
Further forward, Eden Hazard should unquestionably feature from the starting lineup but he could dropped into the left side of the attack unlike the false number nine role of late.
In this case, Willian could get the axe to facilitate Pedro on the right wing with Olivier Giroud leading the line. The Frenchman has plenty to prove with just one league goal this campaign.