Chelsea return to the Premier League campaign with a trip down south to Brighton, and looking to build on the famous win against Manchester City. Brighton may only be thirteenth, but three points at the Amex Stadium are by no means a certainty. Chelsea and Maurizio Sarri will have to be on their toes as Chris Hughton’s side have only lost one game at home this season and dropping points would prove detrimental to our top-four ambitions.
Kepa Arrizabalaga will undoubtedly return to the starting eleven after sitting out Chelsea’s midweek game against Vidi. Kepa the Keepa has been in fine form but will have to watch out for the physical and surprisingly goal-happy Glen Murray (only Aubameyang, Kane, Salah, and Sterling have more than Murray’s eight goals in the Premier League).
Maurizio Sarri’s trusted back four should make their return as well, especially as only David Luiz traveled with the squad to Hungary and Alonso, Azpilicueta, and Rüdiger stayed in London.
Jorginho and N’golo Kanté are the obvious starters in midfield, but the identity of the third player is less certain. Mateo Kovačić was back in full training on Friday, but if he’s unable to go, one of Thursday’s starters, Ross Barkley or Ruben Loftus-Cheek, would have to deputise.
After scoring a peach of a free kick against Vidi, Olivier Giroud returns to the starting lineup in place of the injured Álvaro Morata — the Eden Hazard at centre forward experiment worked out well enougu, but I’d expect Sarri to prefer the big man due to Brighton’s physicality. Pedro, who was merely a substitute during the week, should complete the starting lineup.
Arrizabalaga | Alonso, David Luiz, Rüdiger, Azpilicueta | Kovačić, Jorginho, Kanté | Hazard, Giroud, Pedro
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
It was very tight but Ruben Loftus-Cheek pipped Barkley (38%) and a possibly not fit Kovačić (17%) to the left central midfield spot in the WAGNH community’s preferred lineup. Willian (34%) and Hudson-Odoi (14%) are left out for Pedro while Emerson (20%), Christensen (9%) and Ampadu (4%) couldn’t even get close to the usual back four. Notably, other than RLC, all players overwhelmingly won their position, many with close to or above 99 per cent of the votes, reflecting just how well this team played against Manchester City last weekend.
Arrizabalaga (99%) | Alonso (79%), David Luiz (89%), Rüdiger (98%), Azpilicueta (99%) | Loftus-Cheek (48%), Jorginho (94%), Kanté (99%) | Hazard (99%), Giroud (76%), Pedro (75%)
The side that won so emphatically against Manchester City last weekend is also my favoured setup for this one — so that’s with Eden Hazard playing down the middle and being flanked by Willian and Pedro. This is simply to get Eden more acquainted with the position as he’s arguably our best option there at the moment. Otherwise, I only made two changes, Emerson for Alonso and Loftus-Cheek for Kovačić.
Arrizabalaga | Emerson, David Luiz, Rüdiger, Azpilicueta | Loftus-Cheek, Jorginho, Kanté | Willian, Hazard, Pedro
COME ON YOU BLUES!