There is extra pressure on Diego Costa and Eden Hazard to rediscover their form on Saturday and inspire another victory over Arsenal when Chelsea take on the Gunners at Stamford Bridge.
The pair, who each scored in a 2-0 win for the Blues in this fixture last season, could be the only first-choice attackers available to Jose Mourinho for the huge London derby tomorrow lunchtime.
This goal against Arsenal was Costa’s ninth in a blistering start to last season, but his strike in Wednesday’s 4-0 thrashing of Maccabi Tel Aviv was just his second so far this campaign.
Eden Hazard is also failing to hit the heights of last term and Mourinho could really do with a match-winning performance from the Belgian in the absence of several other attacking weapons.
Willian is ruled out and Mourinho has doubts over three other players. The Daily Star quotes the Special One as saying: “Willian is not even an option but Pedro, Falcao and Oscar – let’s see what happens.
“I select every player for the game because we have doubts and I don’t want to be in the situation where during the warmup somebody doesn’t have the best feeling and we have lots of players in this situation.”
So, Costa and Hazard are certain starters. What will the rest of Mourinho’s line-up look like? Here is how we reckon the Blues will line-up…
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GK: Asmir Begovic
In an interesting match-up, the Bosnian goes head-to-head with the man who he replaced at Chelsea, as Petr Cech starts for Arsenal. Begovic is yet to win in his two Premier League games for the Blues.
RB: Branislav Ivanovic
Mourinho experimented with Ivanovic out of the team in the Champions League, but it may be a bit early in Baba Rahman’s Stamford Bridge career to throw him into a massive game like this.
CB: John Terry
Terry has been written off after his and Chelsea’s disastrous start to the season and will be intent on showing those outside of the club that he still has what it takes. These are the games in which he thrives.
CB: Kurt Zouma
Gary Cahill came back into the team in midweek, but there is a better than 50 per cent chance that Theo Walcott will start for Arsenal and therefore Mourinho will want Zouma’s pace as an insurance.
LB: Cesar Azpilicueta
The Spain international is probably the only member of Chelsea’s back four currently guaranteed his place in the team. The proud defender will be desperate to get a first clean sheet of the season, though.
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