It’s derby time!
Nobody can say that the last two seasons under Antonio Conte weren’t successful after winning two trophies and achieving quite a few records in the process. One detail, however, didn’t quite fit in the picture: Chelsea’s inability to win against North London rivals Arsenal. Merely one in eight is a very bad record against a team that was in Didier Drogba’s and then Diego Costa’s pocket for a decade.
Chelsea have a fantastic chance today to get the universe back in order.
4-3-3, of course.
Naturally, Kepa Arrizabalaga starts in goal as the Chelsea record signing looks to further acclimatize to the new league and environment. In defense, Maurizio Sarri will surely rely on the quartet he’s trusted in the last two games as he looks to instill some continuity with Azpilicueta, Rüdiger, David Luiz and Alonso.
The midfield trio will presumably also remain identical to the one that started against Huddersfield as Mateo Kovačić is still lacking match fitness (though is expected to make the bench this time). This might be Barkley’s best last chance to truly stake a claim next to the untouchable duo of Jorginho and Kanté.
In attack, we will almost certainly welcome back Eden Hazard as he’s managed to get another full week of training under his belt following his brilliant cameo in the final 15 minutes last Saturday. The other two should be the usual Sarri-suspects Morata and Pedro, both whom have been with him since day one, with Willian, who hasn’t, dropping to the bench.
Arrizabalaga | Alonso, David Luiz, Rüdiger, Azpilicueta | Barkley, Jorginho, Kanté | Hazard, Morata, Pedro
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
The WAGNH community’s preferred line-up is a 4-3-3 (surprise, surprise) with two differences from above: Kovačić gets picked over Barkley (32%) and Loftus-Cheek (25%) — and Drinkwater (1%) — and Willian wins the race with Pedro (41%) with Hudson-Odoi getting a respectable 12% as well.
“Sarri Kick-Ass Ball”/”Attack of the Kanté” (4-3-3):
Arrizabalaga (99%) | Alonso (79%), David Luiz (69%), Rüdiger (94%), Azpilicueta (98%) | Kovačić (41%), Jorginho (99%), Kanté (99%+) | Hazard (92%), Morata (69%), Willian (64%)
David Luiz was pretty good against Huddersfield last weekend but I worry greatly that Arsenal’s extremely pacy attack will tear him to shreds; same goes for Alonso. That’s why I’m going with Christensen in the middle and, once again, Emerson on the left. In midfield, I would love to be able to go with Kovačić, but if he’s not fit, he’s not fit. So Barkley it is. Otherwise, I agree with the community.
Arrizabalaga | Emerson, Christensen, Rüdiger, Azpilicueta | Kovacic, Jorginho, Kante | Hazard, Morata, Willian