Chelsea will be looking to continue the perfect start to the season with today’s away trip up to St. James’ Park, where the Blues have not won since December 2011. Can Sarri-ball break that terrible streak? Perhaps with the perfect lineup choices, it can!
The 4-3-3 is a given at this point and is unlikely to change. The formation is just the framework however; the magic lies in the details.
With a rather sparse schedule of once-weekly games in this early season, there’s little reason for Sarri to rotate just for the fun of it. He should be running out the strongest possible lineup as often as possible to get them familiar with the system and build their chemistry with each other.
So that means Kepa in goal, Jorginho and Kanté in midfield, and the likes of Azpilicueta and Rüdiger playing in defence. They should be joined by both Eden Hazard and Mateo Kovačić for the first time this season, with Sarri expecting them to be ready to play for 60 minutes or so. The rest of the lineup fills in according to what we’ve seen so far. It could change, but it’s more likely that Sarri will keep this lineup as long it keeps winning and as long as the schedule isn’t too congested.
Arrizabalaga | Alonso, David Luiz, Rüdiger, Azpilicueta | Kovačić, Jorginho, Kanté | Hazard, Morata, Pedro
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
The WAGNH community’s preferred line-up is a carbon copy of the predicted variant, with Pedro easily beating out Willian (30%) and Kovačić doing the same to Barkley (23%) and Loftus-Cheek (11%). David Luiz wins out over Andreas Christensen by a narrower margin, with the youngster polling 10 percentage points higher this week (43%) than last (33%).
Arrizabalaga (99%) | Alonso (93%), David Luiz (61%), Rüdiger (94%), Azpilicueta (97%) | Kovačić (68%), Jorginho (99%), Kanté (99%) | Hazard (91%), Morata (91%), Pedro (81%)