Chelsea spoiled for choice as Conte decides how to prioritise FA Cup tie against Norwich

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte during his team's 2-2 draw at Arsenal. Picture: PA

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte during his team's 2-2 draw at Arsenal. Picture: PA - Credit: PA

Whichever team Chelsea boss Antonio Conte fields at Carrow Road on Saturday it is almost guaranteed to be packed with top-level quality – but the Blues are facing a busy January.

Chelsea's Eden Hazard (centre) celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the Blues

Chelsea's Eden Hazard (centre) celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the Blues' 2-2 draw at Arsenal. Picture: Adam Davy/PA Wire - Credit: PA

While City have been preparing to face the reigning Premier League champions since beating Millwall 2-1 at home in the Championship on Monday afternoon, Chelsea had the small matter of a London derby at Arsenal to contend with on Wednesday night.

Conte fielded a full-strength side but Hector Bellerin scored a late goal to snatch a 2-2 draw for the Gunners, after an Eden Hazard penalty and Marcos Alonso strike had left the visitors on the verge of victory.

Chelsea follow Saturday evening's televised FA Cup clash with the Canaries with another game against Arsenal, the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final, at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, whereas City boss Daniel Farke has no midweek game to worry about next week.

A trip to high-flying Bristol City follows next Saturday but with a full week to recover for that game, the Canaries can afford to field their strongest team against last year's beaten finalists.


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With a daunting Champions League quarter-final first leg against Barcelona looming in February as well, Conte has considerably more on his plate than Farke.

However, the riches that Roman Abramovich has ploughed into the West London club since the turn of the millennium guarantee City will face a strong team.

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Star names such as Hazard, Cesc Fabregas, Alvaro Morata and Thibaut Courtois could well drop out from the line-up which started at the Emirates on Wednesday.

But in their place could be the likes of Willian, Pedro, Michy Batshuayi and Danny Drinkwater, all of whom are internationals, who started on the bench, and were signed for combined reported fees in the region of £114million. That's before you even consider that Brazil defender David Luiz, re-signed from PSG for around £34m, is reportedly back in contention after falling out favour in October.

With Manchester City already 16 points ahead of the Blues in the title race, Conte could still decide to play a full-strength team, with spirits already flying high for his squad after just one defeat in their last 15 games.

• Chelsea have sold all of their 4,000 tickets but tickets are still available in home areas for members and season tickets holders. Call 0844 826 1902 or go to canaries.co.uk for further details.

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