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Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has already run out of options

This will have been the most difficult week for Antonio Conte in a long time.

Not only is his Chelsea side reeling from two defeats in three games, games in which they’ve leaked goals and looked totally terrified in the face of organised opposition; but also because the former Juventus manager has so few options with which to change his side.

For the game against Arsenal, the headline news was that Cesc Fabregas was returning to the team after scoring twice against Leicester in midweek. In fact, this meant that Chelsea were even more vulnerable than they were against Liverpool the week before. Conte is unlikely to give Fabregas another chance.

Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic were also terrible against Arsenal, but what can the Chelsea manager do there? A potential switch would be to move Cesar Azpilicueta to right back and bring in summer signing Marcos Alonso for his league debut at left back. But that still leaves Cahill in the back four alongside David Luiz, barring a rapid return to fitness for John Terry or Kurt Zouma. So Conte will not even be able to get rid of the two worst players in his side, let alone the ones that are just playing badly, like Fabregas, Nemanja Matic and Willian.

A switch to a 3-5-2 has also been suggested, as that would allow Conte to bring Michy Batshuayi into the side. The issue with that is that it required three centre halves – meaning that it would still be impossible to get rid of both Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic until both Zouma and Terry are fit to play with Luiz in a back three.

More Stories Branislav Ivanovic Gary Cahill john terry Kurt Zouma