Chelsea V Brentford at Stamford Bridge : Match Preview

By
27 January 2017
Chelsea V Brentford - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.


Conte prepared to let Begovic leave Chelsea if he can find replacement

Asmir Begovic will only be allowed to leave Chelsea if Antonio Conte can find a suitable replacement.

The Blues are considering an offer from Bournemouth for the 29-year-old former Stoke goalkeeper, who is back-up to first choice Thibaut Courtois.

Chelsea head coach Conte says Begovic will start Saturday's FA Cup fourth-round tie at home to Brentford, but declined to say whether Celtic's Craig Gordon was under consideration as a replacement.

"Tomorrow? Begovic (will) start," Conte said.

"Begovic is a Chelsea player. It's important to understand this.

"Begovic is Chelsea's player and I'm very happy to have him to stay in the squad.

"I'm very happy for his commitment, his behaviours in and out of the pitch.

"Only if we have a good substitution he can go. Otherwise (Begovic will) stay here.

"We are open to help him if there is the opportunity to replace him in the best way. If it's not possible, Begovic stays with us."

Begovic signed a four-year contract when joining Chelsea in the summer of 2015, replacing Petr Cech after he left for Arsenal.

The Bosnia-Herzegovina goalkeeper has made four Chelsea appearances this season.

Conte was again coy on the prospect of players leaving or moving to Stamford Bridge in the final days of the transfer window, which closes on Tuesday evening.

"I don't know what will happen at the end of this window," Conte added.

"The club knows my thoughts about this. If something happens, also to improve our squad...

"If we stay with these players I'm very happy too."

Conte plans to rotate his options against Brentford due to the proximity of key games against Premier League title rivals.

Chelsea play Liverpool next Tuesday night and Arsenal on February 4.

Conte said: "We play two games - very tough (games) against two rivals to win the league - but for me now my focus, my concentration is to go into the next round of the FA Cup.

"I hope the same thought is in the mind of my players. It's an opportunity for us - for me - to see many players who are not playing.

"But we want to win, we want to go into the next stage of the FA Cup. I will try to make the best decisions for our team tomorrow."

Captain John Terry could feature following his dismissal and subsequent suspension during the third-round win over Peterborough.

Nathan Ake, who can play left wing-back or as one of Conte's back three, will get a chance after he was recalled from Bournemouth.

The Italian said: "Tomorrow is a good opportunity for him to show me he's into our idea of football and to show his improvement playing with us."

Brentford's Nico Yennaris knows first hand the challenge of stopping Chelsea's Cesc Fabregas.

The pair were briefly team-mates at Arsenal and are expected to be in direct opposition at Stamford Bridge.

Spaniard Fabregas left for Barcelona before Yennaris could really learn from the World Cup winner.

But the one thing that sticks out from training with Fabregas for lifelong Arsenal fan Yennaris was his passing.

"Not any one moment, but his passing range and his vision is second to none," said the 23-year-old, who made three first-team appearances for the Gunners before leaving in 2014.

"Given time and space he can pick a pass. We'll have to try to stop that.

"We trained together there a few times, just before he left for Barca. I know a bit about him.

"It will be good for me to test myself against players of his calibre.

"We all know the qualities he has and how good a footballer he is. It will be a good test for myself.

"I'll try to remember the things he used to do in training a lot.

"I definitely have to be on my game."

Head coach Dean Smith reported a full contingent trained on Thursday seeking to be selected for Stamford Bridge.

Top-scorer Scott Hogan could be left out, given he has not featured for three weeks due to being rested and the speculation over his future.


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