We take a look at the key news stories surrounding Chelsea from the day.

Matic backs Batshuayi

With Diego Costa earning his 5th yellow card of the season against Crystal Palace, it appears likely that Michy Batshuayi will finally get his first Premier League start against Bournemouth. Batshuayi has been growing frustrated with the lack of action at Chelsea and has been linked with a January loan move to West Ham United.

Many would not blame Basthuayi for being rusty when he deputises for Costa against Bournemouth due to a lack of consistent game time but teammate Nemanja Matic has backed him to shine.

“When you have Diego in the team it is very hard to get a chance because he is playing so well and scoring goals. But I’m sure Michy is ready to take his opportunity because he is working hard every day. He is a good man,” he said, according to the Evening Standard.

“We won’t have Diego against Bournemouth but I hope Michy will be the man to decide the game. If he does that it will be good for us. He is a great striker, for sure, that is why Chelsea bought him. I’m sure if he gets a chance to score in the next game, he’ll take it.”

WATFORD, ENGLAND - AUGUST 20: Michy Batshuayi of Chelsea celebratse scoring their first goal during the Premier League match between Watford and Chelsea at Vicarage Road on August 20, 2016 in Watford, England. (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)
Ready to take his chance : Batshuayi will likely get his first Premier League start of the season thanks to Diego Costa’s suspension. (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)

Antonio Conte talks change in style

Antonio Conte has talked about how Chelsea have adapted their style and how he knew it would take a little bit of time for the players to get used to his system. Chelsea are flying high in the league with a 9 point lead over nearest rivals City with Liverpool facing Everton tonight. Conte’s 3-4-3 system has been hugely successful and has been hailed by players and pundits alike.

Conte has said that the two losses to Liverpool and Arsenal changed something in him and his players and that those losses sparked off their current run of form.

“After the defeats we changed something in me, in my players, in the club as well,” he said, according to the club’s official website. “We understood the way to go and have a different season compared to last season.”

“We found the right solution with the formation, but also improved the quality of our work in all aspects – the tactical aspect, the physical aspect and I am pleased for this because after these two bad games, we changed a lot.”

When quizzed about when he decided to use his trademark 3-4-3 style, Conte said, “I had it in my mind before the game against Liverpool. Also we started against Arsenal and then I said to change to three central defenders. To change the situation totally is not easy. You must go slowly and put your idea together. But in my mind, before the game against Liverpool, there was the will to change, but I waited for the right moment. You always hope that you don’t have to put great change in the team because I have players that have all played with four at the back.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 17: (EDITORS NOTE: Retransmission of #630134946 with alternate crop.) Antonio Conte, Manager of Chelsea (C) celebrates his sides win after the game during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Chelsea at Selhurst Park on December 17, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Flying high : Antonio Conte’s slow revolution at Chelsea has seen the Blues open up a 9 point lead at the top of the table (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Jon Obi Mikel set for Marseille transfer

Nigeria head coach Gernot Rohr claims Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel is in talks with Marseille about a potential transfer.

Mikel joined Chelsea in 2006, making over 350 appearances for the club, but he has not featured at all under new manager Antonio Conte this season. Mikel has been linked with a host of clubs over the last few months as a result, including Inter Milan, Manchester United and Olympique Marseille

However, Nigerian head coah Gernot Rohr now claims that Mikel is going to be allowed to leave for free by Chelsea and is on the verge of completing a move to Olympique Marseille.

“I saw Obi Mikel in London,” Rohr told Europe 1, according to Goal. “He is in advanced discussions with Olympique Marseille.

“He will leave Chelsea for free. This is a serious option.”

Mikel’s contract at Stamford Bridge is set to expire at the end of the season.

Nigeria's John Obi Mikel celebrates after receiving the bronze medal during the medal ceremony after defeating Honduras in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games men's bronze medal football match at the Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on August 20, 2016. / AFP / GUSTAVO ANDRADE (Photo credit should read GUSTAVO ANDRADE/AFP/Getty Images)
All set to move to France : Nigeria’s John Obi Mikel celebrates after receiving the bronze medal during the medal ceremony after defeating Honduras in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games men’s bronze medal football match at the Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on August 20, 2016. (Photo courtesy GUSTAVO ANDRADE/AFP/Getty Images)

Nathan Ake good enough for Chelsea, according to Harry Arter

Bournemouth midfielder Harry Arter feels his teammate Nathan Ake is good enough to play for Chelsea. The defender, who is on loan at Bournemouth from Chelsea, has made 6 appearances in the league this season – 2 of which have come as a substitute. He has scored 3 goals in those appearances and has impressed manager Eddie Howe whenever he has come into the side.

And it appears that Eddie Howe is not the only one who is impressed by Ake’s performances for the Cherries. Teammate Harry Arter feels Ake has already done enough to prove he is worthy of a place in Chelsea’s squad.

“Nathan deserves all the plaudits he’s getting at the moment. I’ve no doubt that next year he’ll go back to Chelsea and play in their side. I personally feel he’s more than good enough, especially with the system they’re playing now,” he said, according to the Daily Mail.

“It’s a credit to him because he’s worked really hard, even when he wasn’t in the team, and he deserves all the praise he’s getting.”

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 18: Nathan Ake of AFC Bournemouth celebrates scoring his sides first goal during the Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Southampton at Vitality Stadium on December 18, 2016 in Bournemouth, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Eager to prove himself : Nathan Ake has been impressing Eddie Howe during his loan spell at Bournemouth. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Ake, who has been utilised as a centre back by Eddie Howe, is also capable of playing as a full-back. In Conte’s 3-4-3 system, a player who is comfortable in both roles is priceless. However, Ake still has a full season ahead of him before he proves he truly does belong in a team of Chelsea’s standard.

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