The Blues suffered a chastening 4-1 defeat at the hands of Brighton on Graham Potter’s return to the Amex Stadium last weekend. It was Potter’s first defeat as Chelsea boss, although his team responded well with a 2-1 win over Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League and topped their group on Wednesday evening.
The English tactician will now hope his boys produce a top display against Arsenal, who are at the summit of the Premier League with 31 points from 12 games.
Graham Potter has confirmed Kepa Arrizabalaga will miss Chelsea’s clash with Arsenal with a foot injury he suffered against Brighton. In a fresh blow, Chelsea will also be without Ben Chilwell after the fullback suffering a hamstring injury against Dinamo Zagreb in midweek.
Denis Zakaria, who scored on his Champions League debut for Chelsea in their 2-1 win over Dinamo Zagreb, also picked up a minor injury and was substituted in the second half. Kalidou Koulibaly (knee) returned to fitness for the Champions League game against Dinamo Zagreb but Mateo Kovacic wasn’t risked because of an ongoing calf problem.
Meanwhile, Wesley Fofana, N’Golo Kante and Reece James remain sidelined for the Blues.
Edouard Mendy started ahead of Kepa in the Champions League and now looks set to keep his place in between the sticks for Arsenal’s visit to Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Potter may revert to a back-three formation on Sunday despite a 4-3-1-2 formation working well in the win over Dinamo Zagreb. Thiago Silva came on as a substitute in midweek but is likely to start here in the Chelsea lineup, joining Trevoh Chalobah and Kalidou Koulibaly in a three-man backline.
The trio of Silva, Chalobah and Koulibaly will be tasked with keeping things tight and secured at the back throughout the 90 minutes against an exciting Arsenal side.
Mateo Kovacic was given a night off due to a persistent calf problem but he should be fit enough to start against the Gunners. The Croat will form the double pivot with Jorginho at the heart of Chelsea’s midfield, as the duo look to dominate the ball and disrupt Arsenal’s rhythm.
In Ben Chilwell’s injury absence, Marc Cucurella is likely to operate as a left wing-back in the Chelsea lineup. Cucurella has endured a poor start to his Chelsea career and must improve in the coming games. On the right, Cesar Azpilicueta seems assured of a start following Reece James’ injury even though Ruben Loftus-Cheek is also in contention.
Mason Mount has been Chelsea’s best player under Potter and deserves to retain his place in the Chelsea lineup. He will take up the No.10 role, hoping to find forwards Raheem Sterling and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in promising positions.
Sterling scored against Dinamo Zagreb in midweek which should give him some confidence ahead of Sunday’s game, while Aubameyang would aim to haunt his former side.
Players like Armando Broja, Christian Pulisic, Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech could get opportunities to impress at some point in the second half.
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