After two long, tedious weeks of the international break, Premier League football is back as Chelsea travel to Cardiff City. The possibility of reaching Champions League football next season is still alive, which makes this game is an absolute must-win.
Kepa Arrizabalaga might have been busy for Spain during the last two weeks, but he will definitely continue to start at every opportunity.
Maurizio Sarri decided to trust in Marcos Alonso for Chelsea’s last game prior to the international break. He probably regretted that decision, and will rotate back to preferring Emerson. The rest of the top four should the familiar group of David Luiz, Antonio Rüdiger and César Azpilicueta.
Nowadays, Chelsea lineups are inconceivable without the midfield pairing of Jorginho and N’Golo Kanté. The permanent LCM spot still remains up for grabs, with Kovačić likely to be picked ahead of the Loftus-Cheek and Barkley, despite the latter’s impressive two games with England.
Sarri was the driving force behind Chelsea’s loan deal for Gonzalo Higuaín and, despite the striker’s dubious run of form, he’s likely to remain as the first-choice center forward. Eden Hazard is an auto-include, which leaves one of Hudson-Odoi, Willian, or Pedro. The heart says Callum, but the head says Pedro.
Arrizabalaga | Emerson, David Luiz, Rüdiger, Azpilicueta | Kovačić, Jorginho, Kanté | Hazard, Higuaín, Pedro
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
Not too many surprises in the WAGNH community’s preferred lineup as Emerson, Christensen and Hudson-Odoi all get the nod ahead of Alonso (20%), David Luiz (51%) and Willian/Pedro (11%/21%), respectively. The one minor surprise is Ross Barkley’s England heroics propeling him ahead of both Loftus-Cheek (36%) and Kovačić (29%).
Arrizabalaga (98%) | Emerson (79%), Christensen (57%), Rüdiger (92%), Azpilicueta (97%) | Barkley (55%), Jorginho (79%), Kanté (97%) | Hazard (96%), Higuaín (57%), Hudson-Odoi (75%)
Barkley’s performances in an England shirt may have been inspiring, certainly compared to his recent Chelsea outings, but I want Ruben Loftus-Cheek to get a run of games. The 22-year old offers much more in his overall game and provides a presence in midfield that we desperately need. With the exception of favouring David Luiz over Rüdiger, I went with the same lineup as the community otherwise.
Arrizabalaga | Emerson, David Luiz, Christensen, Azpilicueta | Loftus-Cheek, Jorginho, Kanté | Hazard, Higuaín, Hudson-Odoi
COME ON YOU BLUES!!!