After the win on Thrusday in the Europa League, Chelsea can make it two wins in a row by defeating friendly neighbours Fulham in the first West London Derby since 2014.
Sarri made ten changes from the starting lineup that took the pitch against Tottenham in our loss at Wembley last weekend, with only goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga being kept in his usual place between the goalposts.
And so, most of these changes will likely be reversed for the upcoming match. Defence should have the usual suspects, with the four-man backline of Marcos Alonso, David Luiz, Antonio Rüdiger and César Azpilicueta reinstated after suffering heavy criticism following the Spurs defeat.
In midfield, Jorginho and N’Golo Kanté are most certainly locked-on starters. Mateo Kovačić’s hold is not as strong, as it has been a while since his last strong performance with a Chelsea shirt. Still, he should be a starter even if only for fitness reasons as Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek played the entire 90 minutes of our PAOK encounter.
As for the attacking line, Eden Hazard — if healthy — and Willian should be flanking centre-forward Álvaro Morata, now boosted by his “aerodynamic” haircut.
Arrizabalaga | Alonso, David Luiz, Rüdiger, Azpilicueta | Kovačić, Jorginho, Kanté | Hazard, Morata, Willian
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
The WAGNH community have not forgotten David Luiz’s (32%) slip-ups against Tottenham. Andreas Christensen (60%), who managed to hold his own against PAOK last Thursday, is heavily favoured to start next to Antonio Rüdiger.
There is a tight race for the left-most spot in our midfield, with Kovačić (39%) barely edging RLC (38%). At the centre-forward position, the race is not as tight as Olivier Giroud (51%) topples Morata (47%).
Another major difference between the predicted lineup and the fans’ choice is the right flank of our attack, with Pedro (59%) favoured over Willian (35%) — who is barely in front of Callum Hudson-Odoi (33%).
Arrizabalaga (98%) | Alonso (80%), Christensen (60%), Rüdiger (97%), Azpilicueta (92%) | Kovačić (39%), Jorginho (77%), Kanté (94%) | Hazard (72%), Giroud (51%), Pedro (59%)
Other than keeping David Luiz and replacing Kovačić with Barkley, my preferences are close to the fans’ choice. David Luiz still seems better suited to the system than Christensen, who has yet to face a real test this season; and Barkley, despite his drought in goals and assists throughout November, has brought more to our offence than his Croatian counterpart.
Arrizabalaga | Alonso, David Luiz, Rüdiger, Azpilicueta | Barkley, Jorginho, Kanté | Hazard, Giroud, Pedro
COME ON YOU BLUES!