After a comfortable 4-0 victory away at Brighton, Antonio Conte’s Chelsea can now turn their attention to the League Cup, where they travel to the Emirates for the second leg of the semi-finals of the competition this season. The Gunners held on to a 0-0 draw in the first leg at Stamford Bridge and will hope to get things done in front of the home crowd.
Conte will know that the League Cup is a decent shot at silverware for his side and is expected to go with his strongest XI, into this game. They play Newcastle United in the FA Cup at the weekend and can afford to rest players then. Here is the predicted lineup he might field for this clash against their local rivals.
Conte will be without the services of star striker Alvaro Morata, who is nursing a back injury. Midfielder Cesc Fabregas remains the only other absentee for the visitors, as the likes of Danny Drinkwater, Thibaut Courtois and Gary Cahill are all expected to be fit for this tie. Defender Andreas Christensen, who picked up a head injury against the Seagulls, is also expected to start in this game.
Expected lineup (3-5-2)
Courtois missed that game at the Falmer Stadium but is declared fit for this game and should start under the bar against Arsenal. The manager has stuck with a 3-man defensive line this season and Spanish star Cesar Azpilicueta is one of the first names on the team sheet for his side. He is expected to start on the right side of the backline.
Young Christensen, who has been exceptional at the heart of the defence, will look to get the better of Alexandre Lacazette, who will lead the line for the Gunners. Cahill, who is just back from an injury, should also get his chance, to add some experience to the backline.
In recent games, Conte has used a three-man midfield in front of the defence, with playmaker Cesc Fabregas playing as the farthest of the trio. The Spaniard could start in a similar role in this game. He should be supported by a midfield duo of N’Golo Kante and Tiemoue Bakayoko, who will add some mettle to their lineup.
Victor Moses remains the first choice wing-back for Conte and he should start on the right flank while Marcos Alonso, who has been one of the best in his role in England this season, will start as a wing-back on the left flank.
With Alvaro Morata injured, Conte might use Spanish winger Pedro as a support striker to Belgian playmaker Eden Hazard, who himself will act as a false-9. Michy Batshuayi’s lack of form might only see him find a place on the bench. Here is how they might line up: