Chelsea have been rotating heavily in recent weeks as fixtures have come thick and fast, and it’s sometimes been hard to work out what Antonio Conte thinks is his strongest team.
What does look certain after a comfortable display against Newcastle is that the manager has taken to a midfield three of N’Golo Kante, Danny Drinkwater and Cesc Fabregas.
The balance of that trio in the middle seems to be the best, providing as it does creativity, physicality and defensive resilience in equal measure.
Tiemoue Bakayoko is sacrificed, and while his attacking potential and added height is missed, it’s a worthy trade-off until he can deliver that consistently.
Fabregas excels with the platform the other give him, and we’ve also seen Drinkwater bombing on into the box regularly. The England player now has a real chance of earning a place in the World Cup XI for his country in Russia next summer if he is able to keep hold of his spot.