Date: 20th August 2021 at 7:22pm
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There were contrasting fortunes for Arsenal and Chelsea on the opening weekend of the new Premier League season. 

The Gunners kicked off the new campaign with a shock 2-0 defeat to fellow Londoners Brentford, a result that few saw coming in what was the Bees’ first ever Premier League game.

Meanwhile, Thomas Tuchel’s side coasted to a 3-0 victory over Crystal Palace in another London derby, with goals from Marcos Alonso, Cristian Pulisic and Trevoh Chalobah gifting the Blues victory.

A week later, the two sides will meet as Arsenal, who did the double over the Blues last season, welcome the West London side North at the Emirates on Sunday.

The match will be of huge importance for both sides, with Chelsea looking to make it two wins from two games and Arsenal looking to make sure that they steer clear of the bottom of the table heading into the third round of fixtures.

Both sides will likely make changes ahead of the game, while there could also be debuts for players on both sides.

Here is how we think Chelsea will line up for the London derby…

Goalkeeper

Senegalese ‘keeper Edouard Mendy can expect to start against Arsenal as he approaches a half-century of games for the Blues. The former Rennes man kept a first clean sheet of the season last time out and will be looking to keep another one against an Arsenal attack that could once again be missing both Alexandre Lacazette and Piere-Emerick Aubameyang. Kepa Arrizabalaga, fresh from his UEFA Super Cup heroics, will once again have to settle for a place on the bench.

Defenders

Youngster Trevoh Chalobah looks set to continue his fine start to his senior career with the Blues by starting on the right of the back three. The 22-year-old impressed in the Super Cup win and then scored and kept a clean sheet on his Premier League debut against Palace. Next to him, veteran defender Thiago Silva could make his first appearance of the season after returning late from the Copa America. The Brazilian was immense last term and played a crucial role in Tuchel’s side keeping 17 clean sheets in the German’s first 21 games. Andreas Christensen will likely drop to the bench alongside Kurt Zouma, while Antonio Rudiger can expect to start on the left of the backline.

Midfielders

Club captain Cesar Azpilicueta may be given the nod at right wing-back ahead of Reece James, in an effort to nullify the threat of Kieran Tierney from left-back. The Spaniard started against Palace and will be keen to start again, but Tuchel will be wary that he may have to manage the 31-year-old’s minutes this season. Callum Hudson-Odoi will once again have to settle for a place on the bench. N’Golo Kante will be a crucial cog in Tuchel’s set up against the Gunners, as the Frenchman will look to nullify any counter attacks from the hosts.

Kante could make his first Premier League appearance of the season.

Next to him, Italian midfielder Jorginho, tipped as an outsider for the Ballon d’Or after Champions League, Euro 2020 and Super Cup successes, will also be given the nod in the double pivot. Mateo Kovacic will likely return to the bench but could be a useful option late on to maintain a grip on the match, depending on the score. At left wing-back, big game player Marcos Alonso may well be given the nod despite the return of Ben Chilwell. The Spaniard has scored three times against the Gunners in the league, including a memorable late winner in 2018, and will be hoping to attack whenever possible.

Jorginho has had a magical 2021.

Forwards

Fan Favourite Mason Mount will be utilised in the more advanced midfield role, hoping to register his first goal of the season. Moroccan international Hakim Ziyech looks set to miss out once again having injured his shoulder in the Super Cup, but has returned to full training and may be back sooner than first anticipated. Timo Werner could be given the opportunity to start with Mount, with Tuchel likely perceiving his speed and directness as qualities that could compliment Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian looks set to be handed his second debut for the club and will fancy his chances of making it a scoring one against an Arsenal backline that were far from impressive against Brentford’s newly-promoted attack.

Chelsea Predicted XI: Mendy; Chalobah, Silva, Rudiger; Azpilicueta, Kante, Jorginho, Alonso; Mount, Werner, Lukaku.

With such a plethora of talent at Tuchel’s disposal, the German will likely have more than a few selection headaches ahead of Sunday’s match. Whichever side he opts for, the inclusion, or exclusion, of Romelu Lukaku is sure to be the biggest talking point.

 
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