Unbeaten on the season, but two points behind league leaders Manchester City, Chelsea need to keep up the winning habit. Displays like the one against BATE Borisov on Thursday will probably not get it done against an Everton side finally finding their form after early-season struggles.
It’s not exactly the toughest prediction to make, but Kepa Arrizabalaga is certain to find himself in goal for his twelfth Premier League start of the season as he continues to provide a steadily impressive presence in net.
After a diabolical showing in Belarus, Sarri will surely be glad to welcome back Chelsea’s primary back four of Marcos Alonso, Antonio Rüdiger, David Luiz and César Azpilicueta. None of the other defenders is anywhere near staking a claim for one of their starting spots at the moment. (Emerson might be closest.)
Squad rotation in midfield has become a bit less straightforward after Jorginho was forced into midweek action in place of Fàbregas, who came down with a fever. Jorginho will thus have to play three matches in one week. He should be joined by N’Golo Kanté, as usual, and one of Mateo Kovačić, Ross Barkley or Ruben Loftus-Cheek. While Sarri seems a big fan of Barkley, surely it’s Kovačić’s turn — he’s started just one of the last four games.
Chelsea’s front three will be rigorously tested by a very decent Everton defense, but the combination of Álvaro Morata (pouring in the goals lately), Eden Hazard (back from injury) and Willian (is Willian) is our best choice.
Arrizabalaga | Alonso, Rüdiger, David Luiz, Azpilicueta | Kovačić, Jorginho, Kanté | Hazard, Morata, Willian
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
The WAGNH community’s preferred lineup once again produced very clear results, with 9 of the 11 starters getting at least 90% of the vote. It was fairly close in midfield, with Kovačić beating out Barkley (35%) and Loftus-Cheek (6%), and it was even closer on the right wing and Willian basically won a toss-up with Pedro (48%). The only other player to collect double-digit percentage of votes was Andreas Christense (10%).
Arrizabalaga (99%+) | Alonso (96%), Rüdiger (99%), David Luiz (90%), Azpilicueta (97%) | Kovačić (65%), Jorginho (98%), Kanté (97%) | Hazard (96%), Morata (91%), Willian (51%)
My preferred lineup is pretty much the same as the two above but I preferred Pedro to Willian due to his directness and no-nonsense approach. I would also like to see Ross Barkley keep his place. Yes, he started on Thursday and wasn’t too good but I believe he’ll be well up for this one and desperate to prove a point against his old club.
Arrizabalaga | Alonso, Rüdiger, David Luiz, Azpilicueta | Barkley, Jorginho, Kanté | Hazard, Morata, Pedro
COME ON, YOU BLUES!