Chelsea vs Arsenal predicted line-ups: Four changes as £78m trio miss out on London derby
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The Premier League returns this weekend after a fortnight on the back-burner, and fans can expect a clash of heavyweight proportions on Saturday evening as Chelsea host Arsenal at Stamford Bridge. The Gunners headed into the international break level on points with league leaders Tottenham Hotspur, and will be hoping to cement their title credentials with a third successive top flight victory. Mikel Arteta’s men are, of course, still unbeaten in the league this season.
For their part, Chelsea look as if they may have finally turned a corner under Mauricio Pochettino, and recorded two wins on the bounce before the dometic campaign was interrupted. Positive results against both Fulham and Burnley have lifted the Blues to within touching distance of the top half of the table, but a visit from Arsenal is likely to represent a much sterner test for Pochettino’s fragmented squad.
How will both sides line up in what promises to be a captivating London derby, however? We’ve taken a closer look at their respective team news and probable starting XIs below...
Chelsea Team News
Chelsea have suffered more than their fair share of misfortune on the injury front this season, and it would appear the prognosis for many at Stamford Bridge still remains relatively disheartening heading into the weekend. Club captain Reece James had been closing in on a return to fitness following a hamstring complaint, but is understood to have suffered a setback in his recovery and may now be out of action until next month.
Likewise, summer signing Romeo Lavia continues to struggle with an ankle issue, and may not feature until early December. Axel Disasi withdrew from France’s most recent squad due to a thigh problem, and is unlikely to be available this weekend either. Ben Chilwell, Christopher Nkunku, and Wesley Fofana are all set to be sidelined for a while to come.
There is better news elsewhere, however. While Saturday’s clash may come a fraction too soon for him, Benoit Badiashile has returned to full training and could be in contention for next weekend’s meeting with Brentford, but the likes of Cole Palmer, Mykhailo Mudryk, and Armando Broja are all expected to overcome recent injury scares to feature in some capacity against Arsenal.
Full Predicted Chelsea XI
Robert Sanchez; Malo Gusto, Thiago Silva, Levi Colwill, Marc Cucurella; Conor Gallagher, Moises Caicedo, Enzo Fernandez; Cole Palmer, Nicolas Jackson, Raheem Sterling.
Arsenal Team News
The big question as far as Arsenal are concerned is whether or not Bukayo Saka will be fit enough to feature on Saturday evening. The winger missed out on the win over Manchester City a fortnight ago, and wasn’t risked in either of England’s outings over the international break. The Evening Standard report that his injury isn’t as bad as first feared, however, and that he may target a return at Stamford Bridge this weekend - although it remains to be seen whether he is fit enough to start.
Another considerable doubt is William Saliba who, much like Axel Disasi, withdrew from France’s squad after unexpectedly aggravating a toe injury. It is understood that the defender has been managing with the issue for a short while now, and that he could still be in line to play against Chelsea regardless of any lingering after effects.
Elsewhere, Leandro Trossard is said to be recovering from the hamstring injury that saw him substituted at half-time against Man City, with his subsequent omission from Belgium’s recent international double-header being more precautionary than strictly enforced. Jurrien Timber, sadly, may not play again this season after suffering a serious knee injury on his Premier League debut back in August.
Full Predicted Arsenal XI
David Raya; Benjamin White, William Saliba, Gabriel Magalhaes, Oleksandr Zinchenko; Thomas Partey, Declan Rice, Martin Odegaard; Gabriel Jesus, Eddie Nketiah, Gabriel Martinelli.