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Conte has difficulty selecting lineups with Chelsea’s wealth of talent

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It’s a good problem to have but Antonio Conte says he sometimes has difficulty selecting his starting team given Chelsea’s depth and level of talent.

[ MORE: Chelsea aims to extend PL lead on Sunday ]

The Italian manager has transformed the Blues this season, after finishing outside of the top four last season under Jose Mourinho.

[ MORE: Liverpool, Arsenal among big winners in Saturday’s action ]

Chelsea currently sits atop the Premier League on 59 points, 30 more than the team had a season ago at this very point. While Conte and his tactics have a lot to do with the squad’s success, the former Juventus boss attributes the form to the brilliance of his players.

“Sometimes you must make the decision and look at the balance of the team,” he added. “Sometimes you must make different decisions. Cesc is an important player and I always try to put him in the best condition to give us his best for the team.

“I’m very pleased with him. Don’t forget N'Golo Kante is playing in his place and a lot of people say that he is the best player in the league. Then there is Nemanja Matic, who I think is playing in an outstanding way.

“When you have two players playing so well it’s not easy. It’s the same for Willian and Pedro. For me, sometimes it’s difficult to sleep and to make the best decision. I prefer to have this type of problem.

“The most important thing is these players are totally involved in the team. Cesc is playing with us and is very important for the team and I’m pleased about this.”

Conte has found a ton of success this season with many of the same staples that were in the team a season ago. Chelsea made very few signings over the summer and no major adjustments during the January transfer window, which has made Conte’s turnaround all the more impressive.

The manager’s well-noted move to a three-back system has opened up the team’s attacking flow and presented a more stout defensive front sitting ahead of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

One player that has found great form under Conte is midfielder Cesc Fabregas, who has found the back of the net four times in all competitions for the Blues.

Conte’s relates Fabregas’ style of play to an Italian that the manager is quite familiar with from his days at Juventus and with the Italy national team.

“Cesc is a top player and is a genius at football,” he said. “I can talk in the same way about Andrea Pirlo. We are talking about a genius of football.

“Cesc doesn’t run 100 metres in 10 seconds, but I can allow him this because he’s a genius with the ball. His velocity is in his mind. With Cesc we are working on tactical aspects and to improve his position.”

Honduras holds Costa Rica 1-1

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Honduras did the United States a favor by taking a point from visiting Costa Rica in Tuesday’s CONCACAF World Cup qualifier in San Pedro Sula.

Anthony Lozano pushed a 35th minute chance past an indecisive Keylor Navas, as Los Catrachos set the stage for a hopeful three points.

[ STREAM: T&T-Mexico, Panama-USMNT ]

Vancouver Whitecaps center back Kendall Waston’s haphazard defending helped allow the goal, but he scored off a late Costa Rica corner kick to ensure Costa Rica will finish the international break in second place.

With four points, Honduras moves ahead of Trinidad and Tobago and the United States before both sides play Tuesday.

Costa Rica beat the U.S. 4-0 in 2016, while the Yanks battered Honduras 6-0 on Friday.

WATCH: Video Assistant calls back Griezmann goal

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France and Spain used the Video Assistant Referee program on Tuesday in a friendly, and the French likely rue that decision.

Antoine Griezmann had an incorrectly allowed goal reverse for offside, while Gerard Deulofeu saw an initially ruled offside goal allowed upon review in Spain’s 2-0 win over France.

[ MORE: Bolivia stuns Messi-less Argentina ]

Here’s an example, as Griezmann’s barely offside goal was overturned in less than a minute (Both calls took less than a minute to decide):

At the risk of sounding like a caveman, I really don’t like these razor thin offside calls being subject to review.

When you consider the improbability of timing the moment of contact with the ball — how many times have you seen a freeze frame conveniently used to make a case? — it just seems to mess with the spirit of sport.

What do you think?

Bolivia stuns Messi-less Argentina in World Cup qualifying

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Argentina took steps backward Tuesday in its pursuit of a 2018 World Cup berth, on and off the field.

It started as Lionel Messi was suspended four matches for verbally abusing a referee in Argentina’s Friday win over Chile.

Then La Albiceleste made another move in reverse with a shocking 2-0 loss to Bolivia in La Paz. Argentina started Sergio Aguero, Paulo Dybala, and Ezequiel Lavezzi on the bench in what many presumed to be an easy win.

[ MORE: Three keys for USA v Panama ] 

Juan Carlos Arce and Marcelo Martins scored as ninth-place La Verde picked up its third win of qualifying with a win over powerful Argentina.

The bad news kept coming for Argentina (and Everton), as Ramiro Funes Mori left the match in the 36th minute with injury.

Bolivia will finish the international break at least 10 points back of the playoff spot, while Argentina could finish as low as that fifth-place spot.

STREAM: CONCACAF tripleheader concludes with USMNT

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CONCACAF’s bottom three sides in the Hex standings look to make the table incredibly tight as World Cup qualifying finds three-straight matches on the docket beginning at 5 p.m. EDT.

Honduras vs. Costa Rica

Los Catrachos were creamed 6-0 by the U.S. on Friday, and return home hoping a wounded Costa Rica remains vulnerable. Honduras is dead last on goal differential, but three points would be huge and put them level with Los Ticos. Costa Rica won its first two matches before falling to Mexico on Friday.

Trinidad and Tobago vs. Mexico

El Tri has two wins and a draw from their first three Hex matches, and will be without Rafa Marquez on Tuesday. A win guarantees Mexico the top spot heading into the next round of matches in June. The Soca Warriors surprised some with their 1-0 win over visiting Panama on Tuesday. Mexico is a different class.

Panama vs. USMNT

Despite its miserable start, the U.S. can find itself as high as second with a win and help from Honduras. The injuries remain plenty for the Yanks, who are without Fabian Johnson, Bobby Wood, Sebastian Lletget, and John Brooks. Panama has allowed just a single goal through three Hex matches, but also has only managed one.