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Azpilicueta and Ivanovic touted as possible Costa cover by Chelsea legend Nevin

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Pin Cesar Azpilicueta sweating. Goal
Cesar Azpilicueta sweating. Goal

Azpilicueta and Ivanovic touted as possible Costa cover by Chelsea legend Nevin

BeSoccer by BeSoccer @besoccer_com - 0 666

The former Blues winger acknowledges that Michy Batshuayi is likely to step in for the suspended Spain international, but believes Antonio Conte has options.

Diego Costa will be missing for Chelsea on Boxing Day, and Blues legend Pat Nevin says Antonio Conte has more cover options than immediately meets the eye.

With the Premier league’s top scorer due to serve a suspension against Bournemouth after collecting five bookings this season, changes will need to be made by the in-form capital outfit.

Michy Batshuayi is expected to step in, with the Belgium international a proven striker in his own right and a big-money summer acquisition by Conte.

Chelsea, though, boast a number of versatile performers within their ranks that could fill the attacking void if required.

Nevin cannot see Cesc Fabregas being asked to fill the ‘false nine’ role he has taken on with Spain in the past, but has talked up the claims of defensive stalwarts Cesar Azpilicueta and Branislav Ivanovic – in what would be a rather left-field move by a side on an 11-match winning run.

He told the club’s official website: "Maybe Conte will have found out that Victor Moses has the ability to do that central role as well.

"It would not surprise me in the slightest and obviously Cesar Azpilicueta could play as a centre-forward because he clearly can play absolutely anywhere with no discernible impact on the quality of his output!

"I will leave Branislav Ivanovic out of this discussion as I have yet to find many who agree with me that he could be a perfectly good striker. His movement in the box from crosses is fantastic, his finishing is extremely good too and I suspect he might just be able to hold the ball up quite well also.

"When I say this to people they usually give me a funny look but although he is a 100/1 outsider, I would love to see it, though it might just crush Michy’s confidence if he was overlooked for Brana.

"I am not even to go down the road of Cesc playing the false number nine, something he has done before but suffice to say there are a few options available to Antonio".

Costa netted his 13th goal of the season on Saturday as Chelsea edged out London rivals Crystal Palace 1-0 at Selhurst Park.

He will, however, have to wait until a New Year’s Eve home date with Stoke City before looking to add to that tally, with N’Golo Kante also set to be sidelined against Bournemouth after picking up a fifth booking of the 2016-17 campaign.

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