If you follow me on social media, or you follow The Chelsea Echo, we generally aren’t too far off with our predictions on Frank Lampard’s lineup. However this one, was by far the hardest – and that’s a good thing.
The formation probably decides the whole lineup. Chelsea stuck with the 3-4-3 against Southampton, and the lack of creativity was visible and the setup was useless against a side who was always going to sit back and look to play on the counter-attack.
However, despite the extremely disappointing result against Southampton, this formation worked tremendously well against Spurs at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and was the main reason why the Blues came out victorious.
This was due to their being more open spaces in the final third, and with the Spurs forwards not tracking back, it meant that there was huge amounts of space for Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta to attack.
However, surely Mikel Arteta’s new Arsenal side would have analysed this and predicted how to defend against Chelsea’s new formation, hence personally I would got for the 4-3-3 to spice things up, but I am predicting the 3-4-3.
GK & Defence
Kepa to start in goal. Pretty standard.
The defence is certainly a hard one. On the fullbacks, I am predicting that Alonso and Azpilicueta will start the game. Emerson has been in some very bad form recently, and the wingback role suits the Spaniard much more. Reece James is a major doubt for today’s game so I expect to see Azpilicueta on the right hand side.
With the Centre-Halves, it’s very likely that it’ll be the same defenders which played against Southampton and Tottennham. Although personally I would start Christensen in a back three due to his passing ability, he has become out of favour in Lampard’s Chelsea team after his shambolic weakness shown in that horrific 3-1 loss against Everton a couple of games ago.
Again, really tough to decide.
My head screams that Mateo Kovacic and N’Golo Kante will start, but my heart Kovacic and Jorginho. Kovacic missed the game against the Saints due to a suspension, and his absence was clearly shown in the midfield. After receiving some rest, he is a guarantee to start.
The problem is, the player next to the Croatian. The French midfielder has been in dissapointing form recently, losing the ball too frequently and not watching his midfielders around enough.
Jorginho has been in decent form, but he has been no where near his best and doesn’t look comfortable at all in a three at the back formation.
But we all know what both midfielders can do on their day. Kante is one of the best ball winning midfielders in the world and could do brilliantly against a weak Arsenal midfield, but then again Jorginho provides that control and stability in the whole team.
Personally, I would go Kovacic and Jorginho in the midfield however I am expecting that Lampard will be too afraid to drop Kante in such a big game and that he will be in the midfield next to the Croatian.
Like before, almost impossible to predict what Frank is going to do. Tammy Abraham is guaranteed to start, as long as he’s fit. That’s sorted.
The wingers beside him… if you had asked me after the Tottenham game, then I would have said Willian and Mount confidently. On the other hand, the lineup against Southampton changed everything.
Mount – was outstanding against Spurs, second best player on the pitch, his energy will be required, especially against a weak defence full of mistakes (*cough cough Luiz cough*). Lampard said he was feeling ‘under the weather’ in the last couple of days, however The Chelsea Echo understand that he is fit for the game.
Willian – Brilliant against Spurs, then showed the other side of his game against Southampton. His lack of consistency is certainly a problem, and is Frank willing to take that risk against Arsenal?
Pulisic – We all know what the American can bring to this team, that explosiveness and the ability to attract defenders towards him. He hasn’t started in the last two games, and him not starting at Stamford Bridge suggests that Lampard may have had him in plans for today.
Hudson-Odoi – Despite Chelsea fans rightly so using the hashtag #WeSupportCHO on social media, the young English winger is the least likely to start. It’s great to see Frank’s comments on the young boy after the game in support for him, but at the moment although starting him would show great trust, he’s currently finding his feet after a hefty Achilles injury.
So, pretty hard eh? Personally, would go with Pulisic and Mount as the wingers, but Willian and Mount are expected to start today.
Chelsea fans need to make sure not to get complacent about today’s game just because of our away record and the position Arsenal are in.
They could easily have the manager bounce and Arteta will be looking to get a victory on his first game at the Emirates as manager. His side looked impressive against Bournemouth despite the draw, creating many chances which weren’t taken away.
Sounds similar to Chelsea’s season so far… going to be a great match for the neutral. The match could possibly decided on how both teams set up.
Predicted Lineup – Kepa, Alonso, Rudiger, Zouma, Tomori, Azpilicueta, Kovacic, Kante, Mount, Willian, Abraham.
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