Chelsea manager Antonio Conte will have been working on a ‘Plan B’ long before Diego Costa’s suspension, according to Pat Nevin.
Costa has been key to Chelsea’s rise this term, scoring 13 goals in 17 top- flight appearances to help the Blues climb to the top of the table.
But the Spaniard is set to miss the Boxing Day clash against Bournemouth, having incurred a one-game ban for accumulating five bookings.
The 28-year-old’s absence is set to be keenly felt as Conte has rarely strayed from his preferred starting line up since switching to a 3-4-3 system.
Nevin believes Michy Batshuayi is the “clear favourite” to be given an opportunity to lead the line against the Cherries, having struggled for game time during the first half of the season.
But the former Blues winger is adamant Conte will have plenty of options at his disposal with his players likely to have already been drilled on how to replace Costa.
“The manager would have worked hard on the training ground long before the suspension knowing it was always likely to happen eventually,” Nevin told the club’s official website.
“There will certainly be a plan B and maybe a C, D, E and F.
“There is of course young Dominic Solanke but remember the likes of Pedro and Eden Hazard are capable of playing through the middle and terrorising big defenders.
“Both have done it before and both would absolutely relish the opportunity.
“Maybe Conte will have found out that Victor Moses has the ability to do that central role as well,” he added.
Chelsea are guaranteed to be six points clear on Christmas Day after Liverpool beat Everton in last night’s Merseyside derby.
And the Blues are set to have a fitness advantage over their title rivals during the festive period courtesy of more rest days between now and New Year.
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