On Sunday, Chelsea can basically lock up the Premier League Title against Arsène Wenger’s Arsenal side. Coming off a 1-0 win against Manchester United, expect José Mourinho to follow a similar plan to the one he utilized against Louis Van Gaal’s Red Devils. Even though Arsenal have won their last 9 matches, and Chelsea are in a bit of a slump (compared to pre-December run), Chelsea are still odds on favorites to win 2/1. The question marks surrounding Diego Costa and
Loïc Rémy’s fitness, also provide another glimpse of hope for Arsenal supporter’s aspirations of possibly giving Chelsea a run to the finish line.
In between the sticks, Thibaut Courtois will start. Courtois has proven himself as José Mourinho’s first choice goalkeeper, by leading Chelsea’s second ranked defense this season. Courtois concedes only 0.95 goals per 90 minutes, which ranks him third in the Premier League for goalkeepers with 20+ appearances. Petr Čech has been outstanding this Premier League season also, not conceding a goal in his five appearances. José has stuck with Courtois this season, and expect him to choose Courtois as his goalkeeper again this Sunday.
The back four should consist of English duo, John Terry and Gary Cahill, with Branislav Ivanović and César Azpilicueta on the flanks. Kurt Zouma’s name is certainly involved in the discussion for a shot at Gary Cahill’s spot, but José Mourinho consistently chooses Cahill over Zouma, and Cahill has had an above average run of form recently. Zouma played exceptionally well marking Marouane Fellaini, but Arsenal do not have the same aerial threat that needs to be absolutely locked down. Azpilicueta and Ivanović will push forward like we have seen recently, especially Ivanović helping on right wing.
The midfield will consist of two holding midfielders, Nemanja Matić, and Ramires, with Cesc Fàbregas
in the no. 10 role. This is different than the typical Mourinho side we have seen this year because of the absence of a traditional striker. Matić resurrected his form from earlier this season against Manchester United last weekend, wreaking havoc across the midfield. Ramires will fill Cesc’s normal role to the right of Matić, as Cesc takes Oscar’s role stationed above the two holding midfielders. Cesc playing higher and closer to the goal will help feature his exceptional skills in moving the ball to the open man and creating chances.
Chelsea’s attack will most likely be made up of two wings and a false 9 in the striker position. With first choice striker Diego Costa nursing his hamstring, Loïc Rémy caring for his calf injury, and Didier Drogba backing out of a charity match on Monday due to an ankle injury, Mourinho is out of options at striker. He could pull up either teenage sensation, Dom Solanke or Izzy Brown, to fill the striker position, but with neither having Premier League experience, I highly doubt that either will get the move into the first team but I suspect Dom Solanke to be on the bench for the first whistle. Mourinho will most likely go with Eden Hazard as the false 9 because of Eden’s ability to track balls, and his amazing movement in and around the box. Cesc would also be a candidate for the false 9, having played it perfectly in the 2012 Euro Final which Spain won, 4-0 against a strong Italian side. Oscar will continue to play on the right wing, which he plays so well for Brazil, and last weekend against Manchester United. Mourinho will most likely choose Willian to play on the left wing, with Juan Cuadrado not having the Premier League experience to play against a side like Arsenal in his debut.
Chelsea will try to expose Arsène Wenger’s side this Sunday by looking to counter-attack and capitalize off of Arsenal’s mistakes. Chelsea will win the match in similar fashion to the way they outclassed Manchester United last weekend.
(All stats from squawka.com)