Chelsea will be eyeing their fifth-straight Premier League triumph under Maurizio Sarri when they entertain Cardiff City at Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon. The Blues have looked solid since the change of management and the upcoming fixture may witness them take the Premier League lead, should Liverpool and Watford drop points during the weekend.
Chelsea’s record signing Kepa Arrizabalaga has been the regular between the sticks since the Premier League opener and he has kept clean sheets in two of the first four matches. The Spaniard is certain to start in goal against the Bluebirds.
Since the season begun, Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso have cemented their positions on the right and left side of the defence and Sarri is unlikely to tweak with the combination this weekend.
Standing captain Azpilicueta has already contributed an assist during the 3-2 triumph over Arsenal but it has been Alonso, who has stolen the limelight with one goal and two assists in the space of just four league games.
In central defence, Antonio Rudiger and David Luiz have been the undisputed picks from the season opener and based on Sarri’s recent comments, a change appears unlikely. The Italian recently urged Gary Cahill to remain patient with him preferring a settled backline.
Talking about settled, N’Golo Kante and Jorginho have been a constant presence in the centre of the park since the start of the season and they are pretty much no doubts regarding their starting positions versus Cardiff.
Alongside the duo, summer signing Mateo Kovacic could get the nod after starting the last two matches. Despite being a loan recruit, the Croatian seems to have the edge over Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek for the third midfield position.
Further forward, Eden Hazard should certainly feature on the left side of the attack but we are anticipating a probable change on the opposite flank. Willian has bagged just one assist this term when compared to Pedro’s three goals and the Spaniard stands a strong chance of making the lineup after scoring from the bench versus Bournemouth last time around.
Aside from this, the Blues could witness normalcy upfront with Alvaro Morata leading the line. Back-up striker Olivier Giroud had a much better set of internationals for France unlike Morata, who was left on the bench for Spain but the latter should retain his position, owing to his added pace which could be used to exploit the Cardiff defence.
Chelsea Predicted Lineup: Kepa Arrizabalaga, Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger, David Luiz, Marcos Alonso, N’Golo Kante, Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic, Pedro, Eden Hazard, Alvaro Morata.
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