Chelsea will be looking to maintain their winning start to the new season when they take on Newcastle United at St James’ Park on Sunday afternoon. Here is the side I think Maurizio Sarri will select for the game:
Goalkeeper: Kepa Arrizabalaga could perhaps have done better with Arsenal’s first goal last weekend but the young Spaniard is still expected to keep his place as he adjusts to life in England following his big-money move from Athletic Bilbao.
Defence: Chelsea looked vulnerable at the back in the first half against the Gunners when they let-slip a two-goal lead to be drawing 2-2 at half time but they tightened up after the break en route to a 3-2 victory.
The likes of Gary Cahill, Davide Zappacosta and Andreas Christensen are pushing for recalls at the back but I think Sarri will stick with what’s been his preferred back four so far this season.
That means Cesar Azpilicueta should once again start at right-back with Marcos Alonso on the left while David Luiz is set to keep his place alongside Antonio Rudiger in the middle of defence.
Midfield: New signing Mateo Kovacic made his debut off the bench against Arsenal and Sarri says he’s now fit to start – although the Croatian international may not be ready to complete the full ninety minutes just yet.
Ross Barkley is the man expected to make way if Sarri does hand Kovacic his full debut as Jorginho is certain to keep his place in midfield after an impressive start to life in west London while N’Golo Kante is nailed on to start.
Cesc Fabregas is still not 100% fit so he’s expected to miss out once again while Ruben Loftus-Cheek wasn’t even named on the bench last time out.
Attack: Eden Hazard made another impressive cameo off the bench against Arsenal and Sarri says the Belgian international is now ready to start, however, like Kovacic, Hazard also isn’t fit to complete the whole game just yet.
Willian may be the man to make way for Hazard in attack as Pedro could keep his place after scoring in both games so far this season. Alvaro Morata got a morale-booting goal last Saturday so I expect he’ll keep his place up front with Olivier Giroud making-do with a place among the substitutes once again.
Here is how we think Chelsea will line-up: