Predicted Chelsea Lineup To Face Arsenal In The Carabao Cup
Chelsea, the defending Premier League champions, have already given up the title hope after being 16 points adrift of league leaders Manchester City but are close to securing a silverware in the form of the League Cup and have reached to the semis of the competition where the Blues will host city rivals Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night in the first leg tie.
Chelsea might have been struggling to achieve consistency this term and their scoreless draw against Championship side Norwich City in the FA Cup third round tie was a new low for the London giants. But Arsenal, on the other hand, suffered a shocking 4-2 defeat in the competition against Championship strugglers Nottingham Forest, who ended the Gunners’ title defence in the third round of the competition.
These two sides will contest each other exactly one week after their last meeting at Emirates that ended in an intriguing 2-2 draw.
Chelsea players, as always, have retained their fitness despite undergoing a busy schedule and do not hold any significant injury concern. Eden Hazard has a slight calf strain but likely to be back for the tie. New arrival Ross Barkley has been in full training following six months of absence from football but might not be risked due to the lack of match fitness.
A ‘back three’ has been the signature setup of Antonio Conte who should retain his three-man defensive backline intact. However, unlike last term’s 3-4-3, the former Azzurri and Juventus boss has experimented with his midfield and attacking setup that has become 3-5-1-1, 3-5-2 or 3-4-2-1 at times.
However, Chelsea are likely to be fielded in a 3-5-1-1 formation with Eden Hazard operating in a ‘number 10’ role behind hitman Alvaro Morata who has been heavily criticised for his shocking missed opportunities against the Gunners last week.
Manager: Antonio Conte
Willy Caballero (GK)
Although the veteran custodian is yet to make his Premier League debut for his new club, the former Manchester City goalkeeper has been the first-choice in cup games. The Argentine is tipped to start between the sticks against the Gunners.
Cesar Azpilicueta (RCB)
Was rested against Norwich this weekend but is now set to return to the starting XI and make his presence known, just like how he has been doing for the Blues in the past few campaigns.
Andreas Christensen (CB)
The Danish youngster, too, was rested against the Canaries and was replaced by veteran David Luiz who made his return from an injury. The young centre-back, however, has sensationally replaced the Brazilian in the heart of the Chelsea defence and has earned first-team status following his stellar displays. He too is expected to start against Arsenal.
Antonio Rudiger (LCB)
The German international is thriving to have more game time and might be preferred over skipper Gary Cahill following some solid defensive performances in recent weeks.
Victor Moses (RWB)
Although the Nigerian has a worthy competitor in the form of Davide Zappacosta for the right wing-back slot, Moses’ experience might hand him a return on Wednesday night against the North London heavyweights.
N’Golo Kante (CM)
The Frenchman will not only start the game but also dictate it from the middle of the park with his snatching, holding and distributing traits.
Danny Drinkwater (CM)
The Englishman missed a few months of football due to injury but has performed better than Tiemoue Bakayoko on most occasions, which might lead to a start for the ex-Leicester City midfielder over the young Frenchman.
Cesc Fabregas (CM)
The ex-Arsenal superstar will add experience and versatility to the midfield, which will be a huge advantage for the hosts as the Spaniard’s presence will keep the Blues ahead in the battle of midfield.
Marcos Alonso (LWB)
Has been in sensational form so far this season and his ability to score goals from set-pieces and his relentless attacking movements will trouble their opponent’s depleted defence.
Eden Hazard (CF)
Hazard was menacing against the Gunners last week and will keep their defence on toes this time too. His dribbles, movements around the box, as well as goal-poaching traits, will be difficult for the Arsenal backline to handle.
Alvaro Morata (ST)
The Spaniard was criticised heavily for his shocking missed opportunities in the sides’ previous meeting. Morata, however, has been among the goals otherwise and will be determined to prove his critics wrong once he gets the nod to start against the same opponents at home.