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Michael Tucker

Chelsea 1 Norwich City 1 (Chelsea 5-3 Penalties)

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Really worried about the team. Watching us free fall out of the top 4 hasnt been easy one bit. I would like to hope that Morata recaptures form because an in form striker can keep us afloat like Costa did last year even when things werent going great.. But then I remember that this is Moratas first full season and I have no clue whatsoever what his condition is like..

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Antonio Conte has confirmed Ross Barkley remains in contention for a place on the bench against Norwich City in midweek, boosting squad numbers in the midst of a gruelling run.

Our progression to the Carabao Cup semi-finals, along with Wednesday night's replay of our FA Cup third-round tie, has ensured an already busy period since mid-December has turned into a relentless run of matches.

Each of our games in 2018 has ended in a draw, the most recent three goalless, and Conte has acknowledged that fatigue has played a part. However, new signing Barkley's imminent availability for selection will provide a welcome boost.

'I think it's a problem not only for us – I saw many players tired,' he said. 'Don't forget, we played a massive game on Wednesday night against Arsenal. Then I decided to pick the same formation.

'Maybe I made a mistake because many players didn't recover. But this topic is not only for one player, but for many when you face all competitions; when you are very good to go to the next round, to reach the semi-finals. You want trophies. You play FA Cup, you play Champions League, then the league. I think you must have a big squad to face every game.'

The newest addition to the Blues' ranks, who joined us in the first week after the transfer window reopened, is still awaiting his first appearance of the 2017/18 campaign having been injured at Everton in the first half of the season. That could come on Wednesday when Norwich City play at Stamford Bridge to decide who will host Newcastle United in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

'Ross is working very well with us on the tactical and physical aspect,' reported Conte. 'Against Norwich he could be available to start on the bench and then to play a part of the game. For sure, he is a good signing for us, a young player with great potential.'

While the performance and result against Leicester City on Saturday did not meet the high expectations set by Conte and the players, the Italian moved to assure supporters that everyone is giving their all and any decisions he makes are for the good of the team.

'Every game I try to make the best decision for us,' he said. 'The players know very well my philosophy and the first target is the best for the club.

'We are doing 120 per cent. We want to try to do our best and it's normal. You can win, you can lose, but the most important thing is to put all your strength on the pitch.'

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FYI, as the U18s are playing in the FA Youth Cup on Wednesday night you'd expect that Ampadu, Sterling and Hudson-Odoi won't be involved with the first team. Musonda, Scott and Kenedy will probably be the only 'youngsters' involved with the squad.

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Want a team with youngsters in that deserve it, expect to see pretty much the same 11 Conte picks every time with 8 defensive minded players and we'll struggle to break them down again.

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45 minutes ago, Holymoly said:

Full team. No fannying around. Get this sorted.

I'm not sure our 'full team' can sort this!

We need rotation:

Caballero

Rüdiger Luiz Cahill

Zappacosta Fabregas Drinkwater Kenedy

Pedro Batshuayi Musonda

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jones   
17 hours ago, Michael Tucker said:

I'd be really surprised if Conte goes for so many kids and fringe players in his lineup. It's a nice thought, I suppose, but I think that he'll want to win this one, so expect a pretty-close to full strength side.

I would be surprised too. But if I was Conte, I would not consider this game to be important. At all. In fact, I'd want out of the competition.

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6 hours ago, jones said:

I would be surprised too. But if I was Conte, I would not consider this game to be important. At all. In fact, I'd want out of the competition.

So, in your opinion, the FA Cup isn't important, and you'd want out of the competition? Since we're done in the PL, and have next-to-no chance of getting past Barcelona in the CL, that would leave us with the League Cup to aim for. Great. Sorry, but I'm glad that you're not Conte.

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7 minutes ago, Michael Tucker said:

So, in your opinion, the FA Cup isn't important, and you'd want out of the competition? Since we're done in the PL, and have next-to-no chance of getting past Barcelona in the CL, that would leave us with the League Cup to aim for. Great. Sorry, but I'm glad that you're not Conte.

I think not playing the 5th round days before the first Barca leg would enormously boost our chances of getting to the CL QF.

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Agree about the FA Cup sad to say.

We could really do with a few weeks off this season if we have any hope of keeping in the top four.

Seasons ago we had the squad to fight on every front and play every three days but not now sadly.

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