In one of the biggest fixtures of the season, Chelsea take on London rivals Arsenal at the Emirates a top-four six-pointer that could prove decisive in either club’s hopes of securing Champions League football. As usual, Maurizio Sarri’s lineup choices will be integral to success or lack thereof.
There’s no better choice than the impeccable Kepa Arrizabalaga in goal, and he’s certain to start.
As the team had the week off, the squad should be fresh and well rested, meaning that Sarri will almost certainly resort to his trusted back four of Marcos Alonso, David Luiz, Antonio Rüdiger and César Azpilicueta. While the left side of this same defence had a torrid time against a pacy Arsenal back in August, neither Andreas Christensen now Emerson are likely to feature before next weekend’s FA Cup match against Sheffield Wednesday.
The midfield will most likely see no surprises either, and feature the first-choice trio of Mateo Kovačić, Jorginho and N’Golo Kanté — who should be able to control the middle of the park and put the shaky Arsenal defense under constant pressure.
It’ll be highly interesting to see whether Maurizio Sarri will stay true to his word and give Callum Hudson-Odoi more chances to prove himself. The back-to-back games against rivals Arsenal and Spurs should prove a good litmus test, though in this one, it’s more likely that we’ll see the same front three as last weekend.
Arrizabalaga | Alonso, David Luiz, Rüdiger, Azpilicueta | Kovačić, Jorginho, Kanté | Willian, Hazard, Pedro
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
The WAGNH community is in near-unanimous agreement over most of the lineup choices bar left back and the choice of wingers on either side of Eden Hazard. Alonso does hang on to his job in a 60-40 split over Emerson, but Willian (41%) can’t say the same despite scoring the winner last weekend. Giroud (30%) and Barkley (21%) were the only other players with a decent amount of votes. On a side note, Gonzalo Higuaín (7%) got almost exactly as many (write-in) votes as Morata (7%), and he’s not even at the club (yet)! Poor Álvaro...
Arrizabalaga (99%) | Alonso (60%), David Luiz (92%), Rüdiger (98%), Azpilicueta (98%) | Kovačić (80%), Jorginho (92%), Kanté (99%) | Pedro (61%), Hazard (99%), Hudson-Odoi (57%)
I’m going to keep picking Emerson instead of Alonso until it actually happens (in a Premier League game). Otherwise, my lineup is the same as the community’s preference.
Arrizabalaga | Emerson, David Luiz, Rüdiger, Azpilicueta | Kovačić, Jorginho, Kanté | Pedro, Hazard, Hudson-Odoi
COME ON, YOU BLUES!