Maurizio Sarri has indicated towards picking a similar starting lineup as he did against Arsenal as Chelsea prepare to face Manchester City on Sunday.
Chelsea and Manchester City will be looking to kickstart the new season with a bang when they face off at Wembley for the Community Shield on Sunday. While Maurizio Sarri has welcomed back a number of first-team players this week, he is likely to stick with those who have built their fitness over pre-season.
The Chelsea boss even indicated the same in his pre-match press conference, hinting towards picking the same lineup that started against Arsenal in the Blues’ last pre-season game. Cesc Fabregas could be the only player to miss out from that side, after he picked up a minor knee injury in the game.
“Cesc doesn’t have a serious injury. I don’t know if he will be able to play on Sunday but it’s nothing serious. Maybe the starting 11 will be very near to the last match. But maybe something different can happen, I don’t know. Tomorrow morning I will decide.”
With Thibaut Courtois still on post-World Cup holidays, Willy Caballero should be the man to start between the sticks. In front of the Argentine, the back-four of Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger, David Luiz and Marcos Alonso is likely to remain unchanged, with Luiz in particular, emerging as a key figure for the Chelsea boss, who also spoke about Willian and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
“I’m very happy with David, for his attitude. I think David will be very important for the team and for me. Loftus-Cheek I have only seen for three or four training sessions so I want to wait to adjudicate. I spoke yesterday with him [Willian] about his lateness. It was a very positive conversation so I’m very happy about it. There is no Willian problem.
Willian and Loftus-Cheek were two of the players who returned from extended breaks this week, and the duo are unlikely to be fit enough to start against Manchester City. In Loftus-Cheek’s stead, Ross Barkley, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Jorginho pick themselves, owing to Sarri being short staffed in midfield.
Up ahead in attack, with Willian unlikely to play and Eden Hazard still on holidays, the Chelsea manager is likely to give the nod to Alvaro Morata, Pedro and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
Hudson-Odoi is another player who has impressed for Chelsea in pre-season, and the teenager will likely be the X-Factor for the Blues against Manchester City, while Jorginho will be the biggest proponent of the famed ‘Sarri-ball’ on Sunday.