The elation of Premier League football is set to resume this weekend on completion of the ongoing international break and Chelsea, still unbeaten in the league, are ready to host fierce rivals Manchester United at Stamford Bridge. The Blues have defied the odds under new boss Maurizio Sarri to emerge as prime title contenders, but we should expect a tricky contest on Saturday lunchtime against Jose Mourinho’s men. The former Chelsea gaffer is struggling to build up momentum at Old Trafford but eyeing to threaten his former employers in familiar surroundings.
Chelsea, thankfully, did not have any casualty during the break and Sarri, the Blues boss is likely to field his first-choice options versus the Red Devils. Antonio Rudiger remains a doubt though as he was withdrawn from Joachim Loew’s squad through a groin injury. The die Mannschaft defender is working on his fitness but remains a doubt for the weekend tie.
Sarri has been quite particular with his choice of options and is expected to field them up in a similar 4-3-3 pattern that has earned him an early success so far.
The Blues have broken the transfer record for a goalkeeper to replace Thibaut Courtois and roped in Spaniard Kepa Arrizabalaga from Athletic Bilbao. The pressure was immense, but the 24-year-old custodian has dealt with it well in early weeks. He will now look to continue the same in one of the season’s most gruesome encounters when these two heavyweights will be locking horns with each other.
The injury of Antonio Rudiger might see veteran Gary Cahill making it to the starting XI alongside David Luiz who has been immense so far in deep defence. Cesar Azpilicueta should continue in his usual right-back role where he adds defensive strength as well as timely overlapping runs to whip in crosses and link up upfront. Marcos Alonso, the left fullback, is in blistering form this term with relentless attacking involvement but must focus more on defensive duties while dealing with opponents’ counter movements.
The midfield trio of the Blues have exhibited remarkable technical traits and ability to dominate the game from the centre of the pitch. Jorginho, the summer signing from Napoli, is dictating the entire flow of the game from a deep-lying playmaking role like he used to orchestrate under Sarri in Naples whereas N’Golo Kante is operating box-to-box showcasing his high work ethics.
Mateo Kovacic, on loan from Real Madrid, has settled in quick and done a commendable job in retaining possession and creating chances from a central slot. The likes of Ross Barkley and Cesc Fabregas are there as well to add quality and creativity in the middle of the park coming off the bench.
Electrifying Eden Hazard is in stupendous form with seven goals and three assists already and leading the race to snatch the Golden Boot award with the highest number of goals. The Belgian sensation will be featuring in his usual left wing role whereas Pedro’s return from a shoulder injury will boost the Blues further high up the pitch while operating from the opposite flank ahead of misfiring Willian. Sarri will have a selection dilemma between Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud but should prefer the latter for his experience and intelligence as a target man.
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