Chelsea’s Belgian striker Michy Batshuayi (C) is challenged by Arsenal’s Spanish defender Nacho Monreal (L) and Arsenal’s Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka during the English FA Community Shield football match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium in north London on August 6, 2017. Ian KINGTON / AFP
While Chelsea will be confident at the Stamford Bridge, and of course after their comfortable away win against Huddersfield in their Premier League opener, Arsenal will hope, after being defeated by Manchester City, to perhaps claim their first point this season.
Although Maurizio Sarri’s football philosophy, which is similar to a high press of Man city, is still developing at Stamford bridge, the Italian coach will be desperate to win his first Premier League game at Stamford Bridge while Arsenal new coach, Unai Emery will be hoping to get his tenure up and running at the second attempt.
The fixture represents a mutual test for both sides with new managers looking to imprint their philosophies on their teams. Last season, Arsenal faced Chelsea twice at Stamford Bridge – and it ended up 0-0 on both occasions. Will this be another stalemate?
Eden Hazard might be picking his first start under the new manager, but Sarri suggested after the last week’s win over Huddersfield that the Belgian is not quite ready to feature from the off just yet.
New signing, Mateo Kovacic has been given a full week’s training and might replace Ross Barkley in a midfield three alongside Jorginho and Kante, but otherwise, changes are expected to be kept to a minimum.
Though Olivier Giroud is working his back to fitness, he could be in line to start ahead of the underfiring Alvaro Morata as the central striker. Giroud could become just the second player to score for both sides in this Premier League fixture, having netted against the Blues in February 2017.
Arsenal confirmed on Thursday morning that Ainsley Maitland-Niles fractured his leg in the defeat to Man City, ruling him out for up to two months.
The good news for the visitors is that Nacho Monreal is back in training and may well go straight into the side at left-back, while Danny Welbeck is also in contention for the first time this season.
Emery has already made his biggest call, meanwhile, as Emery backed Petr Cech to continue in goal, despite his shaky performance against City, £22.5 million signing, Bernd Leno will still have to bide his time for his chance to shine.
Elsewhere, Lucas Torreira is in line for a first start and Emery may well try to find a way of shoehorning Alexandre Lacazette into the side.
Chelsea (4-3-3): Kepa – Azpilicueta, Luiz, Rudiger, Alonso – Kante, Jorginho, Barkley – Willian, Morata, Hazard.
Arsenal (4-3-3): Cech – Bellerin, Sokratis, Mustafi, Monreal – Ramsey, Torreira, Xhaka – Ozil, Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan.