Picking the Best Potential Chelsea Lineup to Face Arsenal on Saturday

Chelsea will look to strengthen their position in the top four Saturday’s late kick off away to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. 

Maurizio Sarri will take his side across London knowing that a win will open up a nine-point gap between themselves and their opponents, but will be fully aware of a resurgent Manchester United maintaining a top four challenge under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. 

Chelsea will want to improve on an unconvincing 2-1 win over Newcastle and with the second leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final on Thursday, two wins from their next two games could make this a season-defining week for Sarri.

1. Goalkeeper and Defenders

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang,David Luiz

Kepa Arrizabalaga (GK) – The 24-year-old is quietly continuing to impress in his debut season for the Blues. Kepa may not grab the headlines like David de Gea or Alisson Becker, but those who watch him know that Chelsea’s keeper is proving his worth.

Cesar Azpilicueta (RB) – The ever-reliable Azpilicueta is yet to miss a minute of Premier League action this season. He has been on captain duty all season and once Gary Cahill departs, he is sure to take the armband permanently. 

Antonio Rudiger (CB) – One of Chelsea’s standout performers this season. He will be forced to use his impressive speed against Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

David Luiz (CB) – A leader on the pitch, Luiz is one of the few players in the team who can unlock defences. Assisting N’Golo Kante and Pedro Rodriguez with beautiful balls over the top in recent weeks, his passing could be key if Jorginho is nullified.

Marcos Alonso (LB) – The 28-year-old has a great record against Arsenal, scoring in three of the last four league meetings. But by all accounts, Alonso has been poor this season and hasn’t scored since August (against Arsenal).

2. Midfielders

N'Golo Kante

Jorginho (DM) – The focal point of Sarri’s system, another who has underperformed recently as teams work out how to neutralise his passing. He found himself in trouble against Newcastle and will need to improve quickly. 

N’Golo Kante (CM) – Chelsea’s most consistent performer and he is only getting better. Now adding goals to his game, his runs between the full-back and centre-back are becoming an effective weapon going forward.

Mateo Kovacic (CM) – A confusing player who seems to be preferred to Ross Barkley for the big games. Neat and tidy in possession, but Kovacic must start contributing to goals. 

3. Forwards

Eden Hazard,Christian Atsu

Pedro (RW) – A goalscorer last weekend, Pedro’s movement will cause Arsenal problems and he continues to be one of the deadliest finishers in Europe. The Spaniard has missed zero ‘big chances’ this season. 

Willian (LW) – Amid interest from Barcelona, his wonderful finish against Newcastle will most likely keep him in the side this weekend ahead of Callum Hudson-Odoi.

Eden Hazard (ST) – Chelsea will be hoping to finalise a deal for Juventus’ Gonzalo Higuain  before the weekend, but Hazard is still expected to lead the line in the false nine role. His assist last weekend moved him into double figures for both goals and assists this season.

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Transfer Rumours: McKennie to Liverpool, Trincao to Arsenal, Eriksen to Everyone and More

Transfer rumours can be fun, but they can also be about as boring as paint drying on a Monday afternoon. Fortunately, today, it’s the former. 

We’ve got Liverpool looking at yet another central midfielder, Southampton chasing Ralph Hassenhuttl’s first signing, and Davide Zappacosta telling his dad on Chelsea…and more. 

1. Christian Eriksen Linked With Half of Europe

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Real Madrid’s interest in Christian Eriksen is hardly a new phenomenon, but AS have come out this week with a nice fresh spin on the story, linking the player to, basically, everyone else. 

They say that it’s hard to name all the clubs who are interested in the Dane, but that Barcelona and Chelsea are both big admirers, while AC Milan, Manchester City and PSG may revive the interest they held in him prior to his initial move to Spurs back in 2013. 

It’s also reported that Jose Mourinho wanted him when he was at Manchester United, so they’ve been thrown into the picture as well. 

It seems as if Real have some competition. 

2. Tyrone Mings Could Be Heading to West Brom on Loan

Tyrone Mings

It seems as if Bournemouth are likely to let Tyrone Mings go out on loan to West Brom until the end of the season this month, as the defender has made just four starts in all competitions so far, with two of them coming in the Carabao Cup.

The Cherries were keeping him around as cover at centre-back, but they are prepared to sanction the move if and when they are able to complete the deal for Brentford defender Chris Mepham, according to The Sun.

It’s thought that the game time in a competitive environment will benefit the 25-year-old as he hopes to nail down a first team place in future.

3. Arsenal Set Their Sights on Portuguese Starlet as Juventus Consider Bid

Francisco Trincao

Arsenal are reported to have watched Braga teenager Francisco Trincao on several occasions in recent weeks, and might soon move for the 19-year-old.

This one comes from Tutto Mercato Web, who say the Gunners are keen on the forward, while Juventus are also considering a bid for a player who is yet to make a breakthrough into the Braga first team. 

He’s played mainly for his side’s reserves so far this season, with a couple of sub appearances to his name for the senior side, but 11 goals in 16 appearances for Portugal’s Under-19s suggests he has the potential for a mean goalscoring streak when he gets some first-team action.

4. Liverpool Contemplating £20m Move for USA International Weston McKennie

Weston McKennie

Liverpool are rumoured to be looking at versatile Schalke midfielder Weston McKennie, and are running the rule over a £20m move. 

The 20-year-old has been scouted by the Reds since his first-team breakthrough in 2017, and according to The Sun, they are close to pulling the trigger on a move for him, either this month or in the summer.

He’s played a lot of football for someone his age, with 45 senior appearances, and has played anywhere through the middle, from centre-back to up front. Given that Liverpool are getting players injured at a rate rivalling Chelsea’s managerial turnover at the moment, fast-tracking a move for the USA international perhaps wouldn’t be the worst bit of business.

5. Southampton in for Versatile Danish Right-Back

KRC Genk v Cercle Brugge KSV - Jupiler Pro League

Ralph Hassenhuttl is still waiting on his first signing as Southampton manager, and having already moved on Manolo Gabbiadini and Steven Davis, it might not be too long before we see the first player in the door for the Hassenhuttl revolution.

To that end, the honourable Daily Mail say that KRC Genk right-back Joakim Maehle could be brought in this month, freeing up Cedric Soares for a move elsewhere.

The 21-year-old is a Danish youth international, and can play in midfield if need be, so he could add some depth and versatility to a Southampton squad scrapping for their lives.

6. Claudio Ranieri Wants Fiorentina Star to Boost Fulham’s Midfield Options

Bryan Dabo

Claudio Ranieri is reportedly desperate to add a defensive midfielder to his Fulham squad this month, and sees Fiorentina’s out of favour Bryan Dabo as one potential solution. 

Callum Chambers has played in a holding midfield role in recent weeks, highlighting the lack of  depth the Cottagers have in the position, and 26-year-old Dabo would offer a more natural option.

Fiorentina are willing to listen to offers, according to The Sun, as he is yet to start this season, and while their preference is an outright sale, they are prepared to loan him out if need be.

7. Davide Zappacosta’s Dad Tells the Club He Wants to Leave

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Rumour has it that Chelsea are jeopardising Davide Zappacosta’s reported move to Lazio, and the 25-year-old has subsequently gone running to his dad. 

In one of the more questionable stories you’ll read today, Tuttosport say (via Sport Witness) that Chelsea are demanding €15m for his signature before sanctioning any move, and the player’s father less than pleased, telling the club in no uncertain terms that a return to Serie A is what’s best for him.

Zappacosta Jr. has managed just two Premier League appearances so far this season, finding himself firmly behind Cesar Azpilicueta in the pecking order after his €25m move from Torino 18 months ago, so an exit looks likely sooner rather than later. 

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Olivier Giroud Speaks Out About ‘Difficult’ Substitute Role Ahead of Arsenal Return

Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud has spoken out about his substitute role under Maurizio Sarri this season, admitting it’s “difficult” to maintain your form in such a position. 

The Frenchman has started just six games in the Premier League so far this campaign, scoring five goals across competitions in his 24 appearances.

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And, speaking to ?ESPN, Giroud admitted it hasn’t been easy: “It’s not me who decides the team, making the starting XI, but obviously every single player wants to play every single game. As a competitor obviously I can’t be happy to stay on the bench, but I keep that frustration with me and try to transform it to positive energy to work hard in training.

Olivier Giroud,Jamaal Lascelles

“It’s true that every time I play from the start I try to bring something to the team, to play my part. But in these 14 games I started maybe only half of them, so it’s a bit difficult to be consistent in this case. You need to play a few games in a row to be competitive, so that’s what’s a bit difficult in this last month.

“The first six months [at Chelsea] were very good for me. I needed to leave Arsenal because of the fact that Arsene Wenger wanted to play with a different kind of striker. My time was over in ?Arsenal and I was really pleased to sign in a big club like ?Chelsea.

“I settled really well — it’s like I was part of this Chelsea team for a long time. I felt very good, with a good understanding with the players. We won the FA Cup and I played a few games, and then I had the opportunity to go to the World Cup. It was very good for me.

“Then after, when I came back late from the World Cup, it was a bit different because the new manager came and you have to start again, prove to him that you are ready to play in this team. It has been a little bit difficult for me to be honest, this last month, but I will keep fighting to play in this team.”


?Giroud was then probed on his forthcoming trip to north London, to which he conceded: “It’s going to be a special moment for me, the first time I’ll be back at the Emirates since I moved to ?Chelsea, so I’m looking forward to this game.

“We need the win to keep them away from us. There’s an opportunity to put them nine points behind us, but in a personal way it’s going to be a special moment.”

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Jose Mourinho Claims He ‘Fell in Love’ With Mohamed Salah & Rejects Idea He Sanctioned Chelsea Sale

?Jose Mourinho has spoken about Mohamed Salah’s infamously brief time at Chelsea, while insisting that he was not the one who sanctioned the now Liverpool forward’s exit from Stamford Bridge.

Salah joined Mourinho’s Chelsea in January 2014 for £11m, but struggled to make an impact on the first team and was loaned out to Fiorentina the following summer. The Egyptian thrived in Serie A and then famously returned to England to haunt Chelsea fans in 2017/18, scoring a record 32 goals in a 38-game Premier League season for Liverpool.

Mourinho has often been blamed for his handling of Salah, with some claiming the Portuguese never fancied the forward and ultimately allowed him to leave Chelsea without fulfilling his potential.

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However, ?speaking to beIN Sports in his first TV appearance since his sacking as Manchester United manager, Mourinho rejected those claims, claiming that he ‘fell in love’ with Salah after the forward impressed in the Europa League and Champions League in fixtures against the Blues. 

As quoted by ?ESPN, Mourinho said: “I played against Basel in the Champions League. Salah was a kid at Basel. And I fell in love with that kid. I bought the kid.

“I pushed the club to buy him and at the time we already had fantastic attacking players – Hazard, Willian, we had top talent there. But I told them to buy that kid. He was more a winger coming inside than a striker.”

In 2013, while with Basel, ?Salah scored three goals in four appearances against ?Chelsea. However, after Mourinho and Chelsea proceeded to bring him to Stamford Bridge, he never really found his feet and was loaned out twice before being sold to Roma in 2016.

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Regarding Salah’s exit, Mourinho insisted it was the club who wanted to sell him, saying: “People try to identify me as the coach that sold Salah. I am the coach that bought Salah. It’s completely the wrong idea.

“We decided to put him on loan, in a culture I knew well- Italy. A good place to play.

“Fiorentina are a good team to play for without the pressure of playing for the title. And we decided that move there. When the club decided to sell him it was not me. I bought him, I did not sell him.”

Mohamed Salah,Jordan Henderson

Mourinho admitted that Salah struggled to adapt to life in London, but claimed that he was willing to work on him.

He added: “He was just a lost kid in London. He was a lost kid in a new world. We wanted to work him, to become better and better and better. But he was more of the idea of wanting to play and not wait.”

After winning the Premier League Golden Boot, as well as PFA and FWA Writers’ Player of the Year, in 2017/18, Salah is currently top of the scoring charts again this season with 14 strikes in 22 outings.

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Ashley Cole Set to Be Reunited With Frank Lampard as Derby Eye Move for Veteran Full-Back

?Ashley Cole is reportedly set to be reunited with his former Chelsea teammate Frank Lampard, with the Derby County boss chasing the veteran full-back’s signature.

The English duo spent eight seasons playing alongside one another at Stamford Bridge before they both departed in 2014. However, a reunion now looks plausible with Derby owner Mel Morris ‘prepared to back the deal.’

Ashley Cole,Frank Lampard

As reported by ?The Telegraph, Morris is willing to finance a deal that would see Cole join the Rams on a short-term deal until the end of the season. It is claimed Lampard lined the move up before Christmas but there were reservations from the owner, with ?Derby having been ‘at the limits’ of their playing budget since the beginning of the campaign.

However, the latest developments state Morris has been ‘encouraged by the recent progress’ made by Lampard’s side and is now willing to part with the cash, which would cover Cole’s wages on a six-month contract.

The ex-?Chelsea man would certainly bring a wealth of experience to a young Derby side that is chasing promotion from the ?Championship for the first time since 2007. Lampard has built a youthful and vibrant Rams side containing the likes of Mason Mount and Harry Wilson who, with Cole’s added expertise, could provide a serious challenge to the automatic promotion places.

John Terry,Frank Lampard,Roy Hodgson,Ashley Cole

Cole, now 38, has been out of contract after LA Galaxy opted not to offer him a new deal at the end of the MLS campaign, which ended last October. 

He has enjoyed an illustrious career, with his trophy cabinet boasting three ?Premier League titles, seven FA Cups as well as a Champions League winner medal.

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