Chelsea may have just barely beat Cardiff on Sunday, but the win was absolutely crucial in the Blues’ bid for Champions League football next year. Our next opponent is Brighton & Hove Albion, whose season has been one of ups and downs. Despite losing 6 of their last 10 league games since January, the Seagulls should certainly not be underestimated and Maurizio Sarri will need to field a strong side to secure all three points.
As has been the case nearly every game this season, Kepa Arrizabalaga will start between the sticks. Anything else would be a major surprise.
Marcos Alonso has been ruled out with a hamstring injury for this game and so the opportunity arises for Emerson to once again try and impress and win the job at left-back. It seems likely that there will be a second change at the back, with Andreas Christensen rotating in for one of David Luiz or Antonio Rüdiger. Offside-goal-hero César Azpilicueta starts at right-back.
After a full rest on Sunday, N’Golo Kanté is sure to return to the starting eleven and partner Jorginho. Ross Barkley didn’t have a bad game against Cardiff, but both he and Mateo Kovačić played the full 90, which should mean that Ruben Loftus-Cheek rotates in for a rare start. Hopefully his back is good to go.
Gonzalo Higuaín was truly uninspiring on Sunday and Olivier Giroud made a notable difference, so hopefully he also gets a rare Premier League start. Speaking of rare starts, Sarri hinted in his pre-match press conference that Callum Hudson-Odoi will (finally) start a Premier League game (at least one of the next two). For everyone’s sake, let’s hope it’s this one. Eden Hazard should be back on the wings for this one as well.
Arrizabalaga | Emerson, Christensen, Rüdiger, Azpilicueta | Loftus-Cheek, Jorginho, Kanté | Hazard, Giroud, Hudson-Odoi
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
It’s rare that the WAGNH community’s preferred lineup matches the predicted one, but in this case we’re all hoping this is what Sarri’s seeing as well. Jorginho is the only close call here. David Luiz (44%), Barkley (26%) and Kovačić (24%) all rotate out for Christensen, Loftus-Cheek and Kanté, respectively, while Higuaín (26%) pays the price for failing to come to terms thus far with the Premier League.
Arrizabalaga (96%) | Emerson (91%), Christensen (77%), Rüdiger (78%), Azpilicueta (94%) | Loftus-Cheek (93%), Jorginho (53%), Kanté (98%) | Hazard (98%), Giroud (71%), Hudson-Odoi (94%)
Same as the predicted and the community choice except for Christensen replacing Rüdiger, who struggled with his passing on Sunday, instead of David Luiz. We’ll need the latter’s trademark cross-field and line-breaking passes.
Arrizabalaga | Emerson, David Luiz, Christensen, Azpilicueta | Loftus-Cheek, Jorginho, Kanté | Hazard, Giroud, Hudson-Odoi
COME ON YOU BLUES!!!