Chelsea host Arsenal at the Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening. It is a first London derby clash for both Maurizio Sarri and Unai Emery. The newly appointed coaches will be looking to get one over their arch-rivals and claim all three points.
However, both had contrasting starts to their careers in the new clubs.
Sarri’s Chelsea beat Huddersfield Town 3-0 at the Kirklees Stadium in what was a comfortable win. Kante, Jorginho, and Pedro were amongst the goals against the Premier League’s minnows.
Meanwhile, Emery’s Arsenal was beaten 2-0 by Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium courtesy of Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva.
New signing Kepa made a competitive debut between the sticks against David Wagner’s side. He kept a clean sheet which was a great start to life with the Blues.
The former Napoli manager deployed Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso as the fullbacks in last weekend’s 3-0 defeat of Huddersfield. The Spaniards are first choice fullbacks and will be a very safe bet to start together again on the defensive flanks.
Danish defender Andreas Christensen partnered with former Paris Saint-Germain star David Luiz at the center of defense last week. This is expected to be the primary central defender pairing under Sarri’s regimes. Both of them starting together would come as no surprise.
Maurizio Sarri has a fabulous midfield at his disposal following the recruitments of Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic over the summer. N’Golo Kante is one of the most obvious choices to start in the three-man midfield. The World Cup winner could take his place just ahead of the two center-backs.
Having scored a goal on his competitive debut with the Blues, Jorginho is in high spirits. He did well to run the play against the Terriers.
Ross Barkley started at Huddersfield but it wouldn’t come as a shock if Mateo Kovacic replaces him for the London Derby. The Croatian star is on loan from Real Madrid and has brilliant dribbling ability.
That is likely to make Kovacic stand out among the other options such as Barkley and Fabregas in particular.
Eden Hazard was given a rest at the Kirklees Stadium and only came on to feature in the final stages of the game. He did provide an assist to Pedro and impressed on his cameo appearance.
The Belgium winger is a no-brainer to grab a starting spot against the Gunners in such a vital encounter. Like Hazard, Willian also provided an assist. The Brazilian played over 75 minutes in a comfortable win.
A week’s rest and brilliant form could see him start at the right winger’s position next week. Meanwhile, Pedro could also be a consideration having scored a goal in last weekend’s clash.
Alvaro Morata was as per his usual standards and did not do well against Huddersfield. However, the Spanish striker is tall and has a good heading ability. That, coupled with a good link with Azpilicueta could see him start as the striker.
His height and heading ability could be useful against a defense consisting of Sokratis and Mustafi.