Predicting Chelsea’s Starting XI for Arsenal Clash on Tuesday

Chelsea face Arsenal on Tuesday night, with both teams in the midst of some decidedly mixed form. Nevertheless, this London derby should be no less hotly anticipated.

Frank Lampard will have had to pick his side up quickly from a disappointing 1-0 loss to Newcastle and move swiftly on to preparing for the visit of the Gunners.

Frank Lampard

Isaac Hayden’s 94th-minute winner will have been a bitter pill to swallow for Lampard but he would have been comforted by the fact Manchester United (yet again) failed to close the gap in the race for the top four.

The Blues are still fourth in the ?Premier League, occupying the last ?Champions League place, five points ahead of their closest rivals United whilst Tuesday’s opponents Arsenal sit 10 points adrift. 

In a bid to put even more breathing space between them and the chasing pack, ?Chelsea will look for a repeat of the battling performance that saw them come from behind to beat ?Arsenal 2-1 less than a month ago.

Here’s how Chelsea might shape up ahead of the clash. 


Goalkeeper & Defenders

Kepa Arrizabalaga

Kepa Arrizabalaga (GK) – The world’s most expensive goalkeeper was arguably at fault for the only goal of the game in his side’s 1-0 loss at ?Newcastle, with many under the impression that Hayden’s stoppage-time header was a soft one to concede. The £72m price tag continues to weigh heavy on Kepa’s head. He has saved just 55% of the shots he has faced this season.

Cesar Azpilicueta (RB) – Chelsea’s skipper will most likely revert to right-back to cover for Reece James who picked up a knock in the match against the Toon. Azplicueta may well be in for a tough evening having to square off with the vibrant Gabriel Martinelli. The young Gunners forward will be full of confidence following his goal against ?Sheffield United.

Antonio Rüdiger (CB) – Lampard’s most senior centre-back will be happy to see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s name missing from the Gunners teamsheet, with the Gabon forward still suspended. However, Arsenal have more than enough to trouble Chelsea and Rüdiger will need to be at his commanding best.

Andreas Christensen (CB) – The centre-half didn’t do much wrong in Blues’ game at St James’ Park but he would have been gutted to concede so late. He fared very well against the physical Joelinton, winning an impressive 88.9% of the aerial battles, he shared with the towering striker. Christensen will need a similarly domineering performance against Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette.

Emerson Palmieri (LB) – With Azpilicueta switching flanks, Lampard will surely call on Emerson to fill the void on the left. Out on the flank, he will go up against Arsenal’s pace merchant Nicolas Pépé and Emerson’s defensive attributes could well be given a rigorous test on Tuesday night.


Midfielders

FBL-ENG-PR-NEWCASTLE-CHELSEA

Ngolo Kanté (CM) – Having recovered from a hamstring injury, which ruled him out of the 3-0 home win over Burnley, Kanté gave another tireless performance at St James’ Park. Though ultimately on on the losing side, Kanté was a standout performer as Chelsea took the lion’s share of possession

Jorginho (CM) – Alongside Kanté in the engine room, Jorginho also put in a commendable shift against the Magpies and was tidy in possession. The Italian will be tussling with Arsenal’s bullish Lucas Torreira for midfield supremacy in this encounter, in one of the game’s key battles.

Mateo Kova?i? (CM) – The Croatian may be preferred to Mason Mount in Chelsea’s middle three and will have a point to prove if he does indeed earn a start. Mount was largely on the fringes against Newcastle so this could be the perfect chance for Kova?i? to stake a claim to boss Lampard.


Forwards

Tammy Abraham

Callum Hudson-Odoi (RW) – A criticism of Hudson-Odoi’s display at Newcastle was his lack of quality in the final third, a problem he will be looking to address against Arsenal. He will be eyeing the tantalising opportunity to twist inexperienced Gunners left-back Bukayo Sako in knots on Tuesday evening.

Tammy Abraham (ST) – The England striker was guilty of missing several chances for Chelsea in the Newcastle defeat and will be hoping to make amends against the Gunners. At times he found himself isolated against Newcastle so will be hoping for greater help from his supporting wide men in this one. Abraham will be quietly confident though, he was Chelsea’s matchwinner at the Emirates.

Willian (LW) – So often Chelsea’s inspiration in recent seasons, the Brazilian was unable to save the Blues with his trademark Samba magic on Sunday. But, he will be fired up for this one and relishing the chance to unsettle a nervy backline with his pace and trickery. In particular, he will be licking his lips at the prospect of going head to head with makeshift Arsenal right-back Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

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Beth England and Sam Kerr: Promising Partnership Developing Between Chelsea Women’s Leading Strikers

?Let’s face it, a comfortable win against reigning champions Arsenal doesn’t come along very often in the WSL. Chelsea’s 4-1 win against the Gunners (away from home, may we add) to go a full year without tasting defeat in the league? Pretty comfortable. 

Not only did the Blues go 3-0 up within the first 20 minutes of the game, but new singing Sam Kerr also managed to net her first goal in a Chelsea shirt, saving her milestone moment for the travelling fans at Meadow Park.

It may seem strange to have to wait four games for one of the best strikers in the world to net for her new club, but it’s not just goals that Kerr brings to the table – and her newly formed partnership with fellow striker Beth England has become one of the most exciting aspects for the club since her arrival.

Sam Kerr

When Kerr signed for ?Chelsea back in November, there was speculation surrounding England’s place within the squad, especially with the 25-year-old often working as a lone striker under Hayes.

After all, bringing in a world-class striker alongside a forward who is just discovering her form, would suggest that England would be the one stepping aside. Fortunately for the supporters, a promising partnership has blossomed between the two talented players, giving Hayes no choice but to start the pair together.

We first caught a glimpse of this exciting partnership in Kerr’s first game in the WSL, when the Blues took on ?Reading at Kingsmeadow. Despite the Australian failing to find the back of the net, it was her link-up play with England which made her debut a success, providing an assist for the English star with a backheeled pass.

Kerr was constantly passing to England in dangerous areas – selflessly finding her teammate when she was in a better scoring position. She was also directly involved in Guro Reiten’s superb goal, as well as the sending off for Grace Moloney in the first half of the game, creating pressure for the Reading keeper upon entering the penalty area.

Sam Kerr,Guro Reiten,Bethany England

Despite the Chelsea boss admitting that Kerr was ‘rusty’ in her first ever WSL fixture, she praised the pair on how they worked together, hinting at a possible future partnership.

Since that game, Hayes has experimented with formations to get the best out of the two stars, with Kerr sometimes going out on the right wing in a 4-2-3-1 or more recently, playing alongside England in a 4-1-2-1-2 which worked excellently against the Gunners.

The reason why this partnership works so well – and why Hayes can start both strikers without risk of the other missing out – is simply because Kerr isn’t just useful at scoring goals, she’s also excellent at creating chances. She can set up assists and play on the wings if needed, making her an important addition to this current Chelsea side.


With England’s incredible performances this season, conjuring up ten league goals and three assists already this campaign, it would be impossible for Hayes to drop her number nine – and her fabulous goal against Arsenal proves just how exceptionally talented she is.

Throughout the game, both forwards were able to stand their ground as they waited for crosses into the box, passed to each other in crucial areas and essentially tore the ?Gunners apart.

It’s a promising, exciting and somewhat frightening partnership that is developing between these two players. Netting four against Arsenal isn’t a common theme – but we bet it has something to do with including both Kerr and England in your starting XI. 

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Edinson Cavani: The Contenders to Sign the PSG Striker & Where He Might End Up

We’ve got a good old-fashioned January standoff on our hands, as Edinson Cavani handed in a transfer request at Paris Saint-Germain. 

There was expected to be a fair amount of interest in the veteran hitman’s signature this month regardless, but the ?concrete news that he wants out after a tough season in Paris has sent the football media spiralling. 

A host of clubs in England, as well as a smattering on the continent and beyond, are now said to be falling over themselves to get to the front of the queue, so let’s dive in and assess some of his options for a January switch. 


Arsenal

Arsenal vs Paris Saint-Germain

?Reported vaguely in Spain to have tabled an offer for the Uruguayan, ?Arsenal’s name has been in the frame but, in truth, it just doesn’t make a huge lot of sense. 

You can envision the Gunners being in the market for a new striker in the long run, with both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette having been linked with moves away, but it doesn’t seem hugely likely either will require replacing this month – especially with Mikel Arteta looking to stabilise things in the early days of his tenure, rather than shake it up.

Aubameyang’s ongoing suspension has stretched their attacking options, true, but the signing of Cavani on an eye-watering wage would demonstrate some spectacularly small-minded thinking, considering Gabriel Martinelli and Eddie Nketiah both offer exciting young options upfront. 

Likelihood Rating: 3/10


Tottenham

This one does have one or two things going for it. Unlike their North London rivals, ?Tottenham are in the market for a striker in the short-term, with Harry Kane out until April with injury, and there is the appeal of Champions League football on offer. 

However, that’s about it. 

On the other hand, there are more than a few red flags. Cavani, for one thing, won’t want to be playing second fiddle to Kane once he returns, and the financial element once again comes into play. Spurs would have to sign off on an exorbitant wage packet to bring him in now, and that’s just not very Spursy. 

It seems like a Jose Mourinho signing, granted, but it’s just difficult to imagine either Daniel Levy or Cavani himself going for this one. 

Likelihood Rating: 4/10


Inter (Milan edition)

Edinson Cavani,Lorenzo Pirola

?Inter are doing some very Inter business this month. An Ashley Young here, a Victor Moses there, it’s looking like they on are going for the tried and tested Italian football tactic of ‘signing every available ageing pro on the market in the hopes of short-term success’.

To be fair, it’s worked for them so far, so why stop there? From a PSG perspective, they obviously have some sort of working relationship with the Italians, so the French side allowing Cavani to join them now might aid their chances of landing Mauro Icardi permanently in the summer. 

Would Cavani, though, be prepared to wait for his chances behind an established duo in Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez? There’s every chance he’d end up starting most of his games in the Europa League – not exactly a huge appeal there. 

Likelihood Rating: 5/10


Inter (Miami edition)

Meanwhile in MLS, David Beckham’s Inter Miami are still on the lookout for a salary cap-breaking signing or two to boost the brand ahead of their first competitive match next month, and Cavani has been chief among the names linked.

The likelihood of this one might just depend on what Cavani feels he has left to offer. The fact he has handed in a transfer request indicates he is keen to push himself for another few seasons, but if he fancies a change of scenery and the chance to rattle in 65 goals per season like Zlatan, then a move stateside may beckon.

Inter Miami are keen on promoting South American talent and there would be few better ambassadors for that than Cavani, while PSG may be more likely to accept an approach from a non-competitor. Plenty going for this one, but no shortage of doubts either. 

Likelihood Rating: 6/10


Chelsea

The Blues have money to spend and catch-up to play in the January window, and need a viable, experienced alternative to Tammy Abraham. Is the writing on the wall here? Not quite, but it does make a fair amount of sense. 

From Cavani’s perspective, this one’s fairly straightforward. With only one established striker available to Frank Lampard at present, he would know he has a decent chance of carving out some first-team football for himself, and if he hits the heights he can, then he could really take the fight to Abraham to become the club’s first choice. 

For ?Chelsea, it’s some much-needed experience to inject into what is a very young squad, and a proven goalscorer to bring into games when Abraham’s form invariably dips. It’s someone for Abraham to learn the trade from, and perhaps only Chelsea’s lack of recent reported interest stops this from ranking higher. 

Likelihood Rating: 7/10


Atlético Madrid?

PSG rejected an offer from the Spanish side for his services earlier in the window, but the word on the continent is that Cavani wants the move to happen, and is keen to work with Diego Simeone in the Spanish capital.

That being the case, it looks unlikely that they won’t try their hand another once or twice at bringing him in. The club clearly want him, and the player clearly wants the move, so while PSG are holding out for all they can get, they seem unlikely to stand in the way of it for too much longer. 

The transfer request might just spring Atléti into action – we’ll see how this one goes. 

Likelihood Rating: 7/10


Manchester United

Edinson Cavani

This one just seems right, doesn’t it? 

United were already in need of another attacking option before Marcus Rashford’s injury; now they most certainly are. 

United have plenty of youth and exuberance in the final third, with Anthony Martial, at 24, their most experienced forward. Cavani, then, as a proven option to come in for 18 months or so and offer some world-class quality, while not expecting to start every game, fits like a glove. 

It would give the wealth of young attackers someone to look up to, gives the likes of Mason Greenwood something to aim at, and adds some leadership to a squad that, by the gods, is in desperate need of it. This is perhaps the most sensible of sensible signings, so United should avoid letting another one slip through the cracks and get this one done early. 

Likelihood Rating: 8/10


For more from Robbie Copeland, follow him on Twitter!

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Reece James & Callum Hudson-Odoi: A Partnership Made in Cobham Destined for the Three Lions

Chelsea’s youth revolution has been a sight to behold for Blues fans, one that has merely been a dream for years. The club’s renowned academy has produced some incredible talent, but for the large part of the century they never got the breakthrough they deserved at Stamford Bridge.

This season, it all fell into place thanks to a blessing in disguise. The transfer ban slapped onto the club played a part in Maurizio Sarri’s departure, and with those two factors in place, Chelsea turned to club legend Frank Lampard to take over the reins for the foreseeable future.

With Lampard at the helm and no signings permitted, the injection of academy starlets into the ?Chelsea first team was inevitable. Fikayo Tomori and Tammy Abraham were first to break through, with the latter enjoying a particularly successful seas/on with 15 goals to his name.

Tammy Abraham,Frank Lampard

One of the biggest breakthroughs was Reece James, an immensely talented defender who had just won Player of the Year on loan at ?Wigan Athletic. Since making his debut in September, he has taken Chelsea by storm, with his outstanding crossing ability and strength on the ball making him one of the Blues’ players of the campaign.

Another star who was already in the first team but returned in style is Callum Hudson-Odoi, who remarkably recovered from his Achilles injury in just five months. The 19-year-old came through last season but was limited to cup appearances, with Sarri only awarding him his first league start last April.

James and Hudson-Odoi almost failed to cross paths again, with the latter linked with a move to ?Bayern Munich all summer. But it was fate that the two reunited in the first team, both coming in at the perfect time. They have found their way into Lampard’s setup now, but their partnership began long before.

The English duo have been playing together for years. Coming up through the academy together, James and Hudson-Odoi were part of the 2017 FA Youth Cup winning side, both starting the second leg of the final at Stamford Bridge.

Mason Mount

Chelsea and ?Manchester City both went into that game neck and neck, having battled to a 1-1 draw in the first leg. However, it was the Blues who came out on top, and emphatically so, winning 5-1 and with Hudson-Odoi getting on the scoresheet with a sublime solo goal.

That was when they caught the eye of many for the first time, and they continued to impress within the academy en route to the first team. Fast forward two-and-a-half years, James and Hudson-Odoi have developed a formidable partnership, though only when the latter is on the right wing rather than his favoured left.

It seemed a bold move from Lampard to play Hudson-Odoi on the right, but recent performances show that it was one of his best tactical moves of the season. The England international looks free and dangerous when he’s there, with two goals in the last three games he has played on the right.

If Hudson-Odoi on the right isn’t exciting enough, James behind him at right-back makes that side of the pitch a key threat. The two combine so well together, with their flair, strength and power causing huge problems for opposition defences. To put it simply, Chelsea are sorted on the right flank for years.


Their strong performances this season prove that they work brilliantly as a pair, and it’s one that can be around for years to come. Captain ?Cesar Azpilicueta could soon be approaching the twilight of his career at 30 years old, yet he has flourished when moving over to left-back to accommodate for James.

The same can be said for right wing, with Chelsea’s two options there in similar situations to Azpilicueta. ?Willian and ?Pedro are 31 and 32 years old respectively, and with both of their contracts expiring in the summer, they may be on their way out if Hudson-Odoi is the future on the wing.

James and Hudson-Odoi have been excellent together this season, proving what they can do together at Chelsea. Seeing them play together is a privilege, and it could be a partnership we could be set to see for England in the very near future.

With the European Championship right around the corner and Southgate needing to make key decisions for his final squad, the Chelsea duo are in strong contention to make his Euro 2020 23. Hudson-Odoi has already earned three caps and impressed on all occasions, whereas James is awaiting his first senior call-up.

Gareth Southgate,Callum Hudson-Odoi

Southgate will surely have an eye on Stamford Bridge, and with how the pair are playing now, they deserve a chance to show what they can do on the international stage. England have warmup friendlies against Italy and Denmark in March, and that could be the opportunity they need to prove themselves.

James and Hudson-Odoi are destined to play together at Chelsea for years to come, and if it proves fruitful enough then England will be calling sooner than later. It may be ambitious and a reality far in the future, but what better way for the youth revolution to take the nation by storm?


For more from Nischal Schwager-Patel, follow him on Twitter here!

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Sam Kerr Nets WSL First as Blues Go a Year Unbeaten With Staggering 4-1 Win at Title Rivals Arsenal

?’Wow, wow, wow’ were the words of Chelsea manager Emma Hayes, as her side put Arsenal to the sword in a decisive Women’s Super League clash, winning the biggest match of the season so far by four goals to one. 

The two London giants went head to head in a massive second vs third showdown at Meadow Park, but while it was expected to be a crucial 90 minutes in the title race, it was over within 20. 

It was a sell-out crowd at ?Arsenal, but the massive home crowd were reeling when Beth England curled in a spectacular left-footed opener, before Australia’s Sam Kerr – still fresh on the scene after her arrival from Chicago Red Stars – headed in her first WSL goal to put the Blues in dreamland. 


That was only the start however, as ?Chelsea were not letting up. 

Both early goals had been of terrific quality, but it was a goal of the season contender that put the game well and truly to bed. The moment of magic from Wales captain Sophie Ingles, who watched the ball bounce into her path following a corner, before arrowing a pristine left footed effort across goal, and left Manuela Zinsberger unable to even sniff it as it nestled in the top corner. 

From here on, it was really damage limitation from Arsenal, but they were unable to prevent things getting worse shortly after the hour mark when Jonna Andersson crossed for Guro Reiten to head the game well and truly out of reach. 


Arsenal got one back through a familiar source in Beth Mead, but it mattered little, as Chelsea stormed to a momentous victory that will really boost their hopes of reining in Manchester City at the top of the division. 


?A point would have left Arsenal in top spot, but they remain behind City on goal difference, and now sit just a point ahead of Chelsea. The Blues hold a game in hand, but can go top before they play it, as they take on West Ham in their next match while Arsenal will look to pick up the pieces with a trip to the current leaders. 


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