FA Cup Final: How Chelsea Could Line Up As Antonio Conte Targets the Double

Antonio Conte
Antonio Conte at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich, west Midlands on May 12. Conte is heading into his first FA Cup final with Chelsea. ANTHONY DEVLIN/AFP/Getty

Antonio Conte will walk out at Wembley Stadium on Saturday afternoon aiming to become the first manager to win a Premier League and FA Cup double in his first season in English football.

His Chelsea team stormed to the domestic title, winning 30 of a possible 38 games that is the second most in the Premier League. Conte did so with a constant core to his starting lineup.

But, ahead of the FA Cup final against Ars è ne Wenger's Arsenal, he has decisions to make. Here, Newsweek looks at how the Italian may put out his team.

Goalkeeper

Thibaut Courtois will be one of the first names on Conte's team sheet. The Belgian goalkeeper featured in all but two of the matches in Chelsea's title-winning campaign, with Asmir Begovic deputizing due to a sprained ankle. Courtois picked up the Golden Glove award after keeping 16 clean sheets this season.

Defense

Conte got sentimentality out of the way in Chelsea's final game of the Premier League season. Club captain John Terry started the game against Sunderland but was substituted after 26 minutes, and given a guard of honor in what was his farewell from the club he has been part of for 22 years. So, the Italian can stick with his trusted 3-4-3: David Luiz at the center of a back-three with Cesar Azpilicueta and Gary Cahill either side of him. In the wing back positions, Victor Moses will finish the season in his new position, having been Conte's most miraculous work at Chelsea, and Marcos Alonso on the left.

Read More: How Arsenal and Chelsea Compare in FA Cup Finals

Midfield

Here, Conte has his biggest decision to make. Does he look to go on the attack by starting former Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas, who has been a key member of the Chelsea team this season despite starting much of the campaign on the bench? Or, does he opt for conservatism in the shape of the imposing and powerful screen of Nemanja Matic? Double Player of the Year winner N'Golo Kante is certain to start against a team that could — and should — have signed him last summer.

Attack

With 21 goals this season, Diego Costa will surely start for Chelsea, right? Possibly not. The last time Conte sat in the dugout at Wembley Stadium, he had Costa sat behind him on the substitutes' bench. The Italian chose Michy Batshuayi for the FA Cup semifinal against Tottenham, and Chelsea advanced to the final. Since then, the 23-year-old Belgian has scored four times in the last three games, giving his manager a decision to make ahead of Saturday.

Eden Hazard will likely start on the left side of attack, but Conte has switched between options on the right side throughout the season. He has preferred the Spaniard Pedro, who has made 42 appearances but Brazilian Willian has also featured 40 times, most of which came from the bench.

FA Cup Final: How Chelsea Could Line Up As Antonio Conte Targets the Double | Sports