Maurizio Sarri is likely to drop goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga for Chelsea’s Premier League home game against Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday night.
Chelsea will look to close down the gap to the top four, when they face off against local rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the London derby at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
The Blues come into the game on the back of the heartbreaking Carabao Cup final defeat on penalties against Manchester City on Sunday. And they will be hoping to bounce back strongly with a solid performance against Mauricio Pochettino’s side, who themselves succumbed to a defeat to Burnley this past weekend.
The biggest question ahead of the game is whether Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga will continue in the starting linuep or not, after his antics in the game against City.
When quizzed about the Spaniard’s situation during the pre-match press conference, manager Maurizio Sarri said, “I spoke with Kepa of course, then we spoke all together, because he said sorry to the technical staff. He said sorry to his team-mates, to the club. He made a big mistake but we don’t want to kill him.”
“He made a mistake, a big mistake. There are some consequences. If the consequence is he plays, he has to be ready to play. If the consequence is he is on the bench, he has to be ready to go to the bench.”
With the Italian dropping a strong hint that the world’s most expensive goalkeeper could be axed on Wednesday, Willy Caballero should get the nod between the sticks against Tottenham.
Davide Zappacosta (illness) and Gary Cahill (back) remain major doubts for the midweek encounter. Given the magnitude of the contest, Sarri is likely to stick with the same back four of Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger, David Luiz and Emerson Palmieri that started at the weekend.
N’Golo Kante has been absolutely immense in the last two games for Chelsea and will once again be looked up to put in a solid display from the middle of the park against Tottenham this week. Summer signing Jorginho, who missed his penalty in the shootout against City, should hold on to his spot at the base of the midfield.
The third midfield slot is up for grabs, with Mateo Kovacic, Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek all contesting for the starting berth. With the former two underwhelming in recent weeks, Sarri might look to give the Chelsea academy product a run out against Spurs in the midweek encounter.
On the right-side of the attacking trident for Chelsea, Spanish international Pedro is expected to get the nod once again, with Brazilian wide-man Willian and the talented teenage sensation Callum Hudson-Odoi missing out.
Eden Hazard started as a False Nine against City in the final, but is expected to move out to the left flank for the visit of Tottenham. The centre-forward slot will be taken up by on-loan superstar Gonzalo Higuain, who will be itching to add to his tally of two goals for Chelsea.