Antonio Conte is short of midfielders ahead of this weekend (Picture: Getty)

Chelsea could do worse than turn to Cesar Azpilicueta as a surprise option in midfield for the game against Tottenham this weekend, according to Blues great Pat Nevin.

The Spanish defender has filled in in a number of different roles in his time at Stamford Bridge, starting out as a right-back before moving to left-back and then centrally as part of Antonio Conte’s back three last season.

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Chelsea have some thinking to do as they prepare to take on Spurs at Wembley, with Cesc Fabregas out suspended and Tiemoue Bakayoko looking unlikely to reach match fitness in time for the weekend.

The Blues let Nemanja Matic and Nathaniel Chalobah go this summer, losing two backup options in midfield in the process, but Nevin feels Azpilicueta could be a decent option to come in as an emergency measure.

Cesc Fabregas is suspended after a red card against Burnley (Picture: Getty)

‘I am sure I was not the only one who was thinking even before the match (against Burnley) had finished, what on earth do we do in midfield against Spurs if Bakayoko isn’t fully fit yet? David Luiz could cruise in there, of course, and leave Dave (Azpilicueta), Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen as the back three,’ Nevin wrote on Chelsea’s website.

‘Each of those defenders is good enough but it is also a very new-looking group for such a big game. We could go to a back four and there are even left-field options such as asking Dave to play in beside N’Golo Kante.

‘He would, of course, do a sterling job there as he does everywhere. Tackling and closing down certainly wouldn’t be a problem with those two together.

Could Cesar Azpilicueta be a solution in midfield? (Picture: Getty)
David Luiz also seems a likely candidate to plug the gap (Picture: Getty)

Chelsea 2017/18 Fixtures

Tottenham (A) – Sat Aug 20
Everton (H) – Sun Aug 27
Leicester City (A) – Sat Sep 9
Arsenal (H) – Sun Sep 17
Stoke City (A) – Sat Sep 23

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‘In short, there are options but more bodies are needed and there is no doubt whatsoever the club know this and are trying to do something about it. The most important thing is not to push any panic buttons.’

Chelsea lost their first game of the Premier League season as Burnley stunned them 3-2 at Stamford Bridge, and will be desperate not to be beaten again as they take on one of their main title rivals in their second match.

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