Reigning champions Chelsea welcome Arsenal at Stamford Bridge in the London derby today afternoon in one of the most followed fixtures in a Premier League season.
Arsene Wenger’s side were finally able to beat bitter rivals in the 14th attempt when two sides met at Wembley in Community Shield at the start of the season.
Mesut Özil, who started for the Gunners in the pre-season contest, is likely to be in the starting XI today as well despite a deplorable performance against Dynamo Zagreb in their Champions League opener.
The Croatian giants secured a surprise victory over the North London club to give a flying start to their new campaign.
Jose Mourinho’s side faced no such problems as they swept Israeli champions Maccabi Tel Aviv aside, but it has been a different story altogether in the English top flight where they are languishing in the 17th place.
Let’s have a look at how the two sides will expectedly lineup for the high voltage contest.
Jose Mourinho will be without services of Willian and Pedro, both sidelined by injury but will get a boost from the return of Oscar. However, the Brazil international’s goalscoring return against Israeli champions Maccabi was his first appearance since the opening day draw against and will be assessed before Saturday’s kickoff.
Improved goalscoring performances from Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas will also help Chelsea rout the Gunners as a resounding 4-0 victory has already lifted the spirits around Stamford Bridge.
Colombian striker Radamel Falcao is expected to overcome a minor tendon injury while Begovic will continue to guard the posts in the absence of first-choice goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
Following an assured display on Wednesday, Ruben Loftus-Cheek will also come into consideration.
Arsenal boss Wenger rested Hector Bellerin and Aaron Ramsey for their trip to Dinamo Zagreb while Per Mertesacker continued working on his fitness at the club’s training facilities.
Theo Walcott is almost certain to lead the Strikeforce after Olivier Giroud was given an opportunity in the Champions League opener against the Croatian giants only for the Frenchman to blow his chance.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain may remain sidelined after the return of Mesut Ozil to the starting line-up last weekend. However, the decision was fully justified as the German World Cup winner proved his worth with some outstanding performance.
Fitness issues will keep the likes of Tomas Rosicky, Jack Wilshere, and Danny Welbeck sidelined out for at least the next three months.
Chelsea vs Arsena: Starting Lineups
Predicted XI: Begovic; Azpilicueta, Terry, Zouma, Ivanovic; Loftus-Cheek, Matic; Hazard, Oscar, Fabregas; Costa.
Predicted XI: Cech; Bellerin, Gabriel, Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin, Cazorla; Ramsey, Ozil, Sanchez; Walcott.