It doesn’t get much bigger than this. We know this, they know this, the players know this. Maurizio Sarri has hinted at a more conservative approach, which could mean Eden Hazard playing as center forward, so he certainly knows it as well.
“The match is clear, at this moment it is very important, maybe more than that, for our target. So we will try to win of course, but we need not to lose.”
-Maurizio Sarri; source: Football.London
THE PREDICTED LINEUP
As always, Kepa Arrizabalaga starts in goal. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
Antonio Rüdiger has been deemed fit to play so it would be very surprising if he didn’t start alongside David Luiz. César Azpilicueta continues to play every game and despite Marcos Alonso’s return to training, Emerson should stay at the first-choice left back.
The major question is whether or not N’Golo Kanté wins the race to fitness in time for the game. Fortunately, he’s superhuman, so he will do just that. Jorginho starts, as always, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek has established himself as the clear first-choice for the third spot on the left side of the midfield trio.
With Callum Hudson-Odoi’s injury ruling him out for the rest of the campaign, Chelsea’s options up front are a bit limited. But if Sarri does go more conservative, that should mean Eden Hazard at center forward, which tends to bring more defensive balance to the side.
Arrizabalaga | Emerson, David Luiz, Rüdiger, Azpilicueta | Loftus-Cheek, Jorginho, Kanté | Willian, Hazard, Pedro
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
The WAGNH community prefer to go with an actual center forward, with Giroud receiving more votes than Higuaín (38%) or Willian (34%). Despite possibly being out with injury, Kanté also managed to easily beat out Barkley (25%) and Kovačić (36%), but Christensen (40%) can’t say the same in defense.
Arrizabalaga (98%) | Emerson (90%), David Luiz (72%), Rüdiger (90%), Azpilicueta (97%) | Loftus-Cheek (94%), Jorginho (82%), Kanté (60%) | Hazard (99%), Giroud (62%), Pedro (67%)
MY PREFERRED LINEUP
As last game, I’m in full agreement with the community’s choices. There’s simply no better lineup Chelsea can currently field. A case can be made for Christensen, but he still has a long way to go.
Arrizabalaga | Emerson, David Luiz, Rüdiger, Azpilicueta | Loftus-Cheek, Jorginho, Kanté | Hazard, Giroud, Pedro
COME ON YOU BLUES!!!