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Predicted Chelsea lineup against West Ham: Back to the strongest XI

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West Ham vs. Chelsea, Premier League: Predicted lineup

Chelsea FC v Cardiff City - Premier League Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Due to the compressed schedule, which was then further complicated with the delayed return flight from Greece, there was no pre-match press conference from Sarri for today’s match against West Ham.

So we can’t say for certain whether Mateo Kovačić is in contention to feature or is still nursing an injury. And his spot in the midfield is the biggest question as far as team selections are concerned.


PREDICTED LINE-UP

Kepa Arrizabalaga should start once again after playing every single minute so far this season. Anything else would be a major surprise.

In defense, it’s highly likely that David Luiz and Cesar Azpilicueta will return to the starting eleven, replacing Andreas Christensen and Davide Zappacosta, respectively. While Christensen was solid enough against a rather toothless PAOK team, I can’t see Maurizio Sarri giving him the nod ahead of David Luiz just yet. The other two defenders are naturally Marcos Alonso and Antonio Rüdiger, both of whom have been in fine form recently.

As mentioned at the top, Chelsea’s midfield three will depend on whether or not Kovačić is deemed fit enough to play. If not, then Ross Barkley should be starting ahead of Loftus-Cheek, just as he did in midweek. But Kovačić’s injury was not supposed to be serious, so let’s assume he can make his third consecutive Premier League start, alongside the usual suspects Jorginho and Kanté.

Chelsea’s attacking band will look to wreak havoc upon an average-looking West Ham defense as Eden Hazard returns to the lineup after a midweek rest and Willian replaces the injured Pedro. Down the middle, the smart money is on Olivier Giroud rotating back in after Morata’s hatful of missed shots on Thursday.

4-3-3:
Arrizabalaga | Alonso, David Luiz, Rüdiger, Azpilicueta | Kovačić, Jorginho, Kanté | Hazard, Giroud, Willian


THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE

The WAGNH community’s preferred lineup mirrors the predicted one in all but one instance as Ross Barkley gets the nod ahead of Mateo Kovačić (33%), though we can assume that’s mostly due to the uncertainty surrounding the latter’s fitness. Loftus-Cheek has some distance to catch up at just 17%. Unsurprisingly, Alvaro Morata’s (14%) disappointing display against PAOK was enough to solidify Olivier Giroud’s position as the favoured starting striker. Lastly, Andreas Christensen (40%) also misses out to David Luiz by a significant margin.

4-3-3:
Arrizabalaga (98%) | Alonso (92%), David Luiz (63%), Rüdiger (92%), Azpilicueta (97%) | Barkley (47%), Jorginho (95%), Kanté (95%) | Hazard (99%), Giroud (85%), Willian (85%)


PREFERRED LINEUP

The preferred line up is a carbon copy of the predicted one this time as I don’t see a better eleven for this game at the moment. The only position that concerns me a little bit is David Luiz instead of Christensen, but the growing partnership between Rüdiger and David Luiz should be able to add up to more than the sum of their parts.

4-3-3:
Arrizabalaga | Alonso, David Luiz, Rüdiger, Azpilicueta | Kovačić, Jorginho, Kanté | Hazard, Giroud, Willian

COME ON, YOU BLUES!