Chelsea travel up north to play the last game the Premier League season, against Leicester City, who have developed into a force to be reckoned with under Brendan Rodgers. With Champions League football secured, the squad knackered after 120 minutes of intense drama on Thursday, and an almost equally important (if not more important) charity friendly in the U.S. coming up, Maurizio Sarri will most likely resort to a well-rotated starting eleven.
THE PREDICTED LINEUP
Kepa Arrizabalaga was the hero in the penalty shootout on Thursday, and he’s been starting every game, so he’ll probably continue to start in this game as well.
With the status of Andreas Christensen unclear, Gary Cahill could come into the lineup one last time, partnering with David Luiz. Davide Zappacosta did well as a substitute against Frankfurt and deserves a chance, with Marcos Alonso returning on the left.
Ross Barkley was another who did well on Thursday in a substitute appearance, and will almost certainly start, presumably together with Mateo Kovačić. The third spot in central midfield is still up for grabs; N’Golo Kanté is still injured and Ruben Loftus-Cheek shouldn’t be risked. Could we see Danny Drinkwater get a surprise start? (Probably not.)
A lack of options and need for rotation should see Gonzalo Higuaín start with Willian and Pedro on the wings. If Sarri feels adventurous then he could give a chance to an academy player or two, such as Daishawn Redan; however, there have been very little indications this season that the Italian will do so.
Arrizabalaga | Alonso, David Luiz, Cahill, Zappacosta | Barkley, Jorginho, Kovačić | Willian, Higuaín, Pedro
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
The WAGNH community made mostly obvious and expected choices as the likes of Hazard (53%), Loftus-Cheek (24%) and Azpilicueta (56%) get some well deserved rest. Cahill gets the clear nod over the possibly injured Christensen (10%), and the expected swap of Alonso for Emerson (30%) rounds off the season’s last Premier League edition of the fans’ preferred lineup.
An honorary mention goes to Drinkwater (25%) who isn’t wanted anywhere near the starting eleven despite the game being a dead rubber. Oh well.
Arrizabalaga (69%) | Alonso (74%), David Luiz (88%), Cahill (67%), Zappacosta (72%) | Barkley (85%), Jorginho (70%), Kovačić (75%) | Willian (65%), Higuaín (77%), Pedro (81%)
MY PREFERRED LINEUP
Despite his recent intereview, I’d still like to see Cahill start in his last opportunity to play for the club where he’s won almost every possible trophy. A first start of the season for Danny Drinkwater would also make sense, especially given Sarri’s concerns over the squad’s overall fitness ahead of the Europa League final.
Arrizabalaga | Alonso, David Luiz, Cahill, Zappacosta | Barkley, Drinkwater, Kovačić | Willian, Higuaín, Pedro
COME ON YOU BLUES!!!