The first of three season-defining games in a week sees Chelsea take on (surprise) league leaders Arsenal at Stamford Bridge this Sunday.
Even more surprisingly, we haven’t beaten Arsenal at the Bridge in four years. Less surprisingly, we’re struggling with multiple key injuries, with Ben Chilwell, Kepa Arrizabalaga, and Carney Chukwuemeka doubling the casualty list, which already included Reece James, N’Golo Kanté, and Wesley Fofana.
Chilwell strained his hamstring in the final seconds of an entirely meaningless (yet treated as a must-win) game on Wednesday night, which also saw 90 minutes of action from Mason Mount, Trevoh Chalobah, and Jorginho, and nearly 30 minutes from Thiago Silva. Raheem Sterling played almost the full game as well, and both Kai Havertz and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang played over an hour. The only first-choice player of note to not feature and thus gain a fitness boost was Mateo Kovačić, who had been carrying a couple knocks. Another positive was Kalidou Koulibaly completing over an hour in his comeback from a minor knee injury, and Denis Zakaria impressing on his long-overdue Chelsea debut.