There’s hardly a better feeling than winning a derby against one of your biggest rivals in the race for Champions League football, especially if they’re called Tottenham. The next ‘derby’ may not be as prestigious, but the stakes are just as high as Chelsea travel down the road to Craven Cottage, to take on relegation-bound Fulham, who have not beaten Chelsea in 18 tries, since 2006.
Maurizio Sarri announced “three to four changes”, mostly fitness-induced to the lineup that started against Spurs on Wednesday but whether or not that includes Kepa Arrizabalaga remains to be seen. At the moment, it seems like a 50-50 situation and that possibly means that Caballero gets this game and Kepa resumes his No.1 role on Thursday, in the Europa League Round of 16.
With Sarri talking a fair amount about the left back situation and the minutes catching up to Alonso, we should see Emerson rotate in. Christensen will just have to wait until European competition to play.
This game might be one of the final obvious rotation opportunities this season, but chances are Jorginho and N’Golo Kanté will continue to start as usual. Barkley did not play at all against Spurs so he’s surely starting this one. Maybe Loftus-Cheek could rotate in as well and give Kanté a breather? It depends if Sarri’s “three to four changes” could also mean five or maybe even six.
Up front, considering that Eden Hazard almost couldn’t play against Spurs, he’ll surely get a rest and give the spot to Pedro instead. Could Hudson-Odoi start as well? Maybe, but again, it depends on how strictly accurate Sarri’s “three to four” was meant to be.
Caballero | Emerson, David Luiz, Rüdiger, Azpilicueta | Barkley, Jorginho, Loftus-Cheek | Willian, Higuaín, Pedro
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
The WAGNH community’s preference also involves a fair share of rotation with Christensen, Emerson, Loftus-Cheek and Hudson-Odoi all getting the call over David Luiz (46%), Alonso (18%), Kovačić (40%) and Pedro (36%), respectively. Arrizabalaga returns from his exile with Caballero (37%) moving to the bench, and Willian replaces an Eden Hazard (41%) we don’t want to see risked against Fulham.
Arrizabalaga (62%) | Emerson (80%), Christensen (64%), Rüdiger (86%), Azpilicueta (79%) | Loftus-Cheek (79%), Jorginho (60%), Kanté (87%) | Willian (44%), Higuaín (89%), Hudson-Odoi (82%)
Rotation is a must and my preference is fully in line with the community voting.
Arrizabalaga | Emerson, Christensen, Rüdiger, Azpilicueta | Loftus-Cheek, Jorginho, Kanté | Willian, Higuaín, Hudson-Odoi
COME ON YOU BLUES!!!