Duo meet this weekend
The big game in the Premier League this weekend is Arsenal versus Chelsea, with both sides still harbouring hopes of a top-four finish.
It’s a time of transition for both clubs. Chelsea are forging a new path under Maurizio Sarri, while Arsenal are entering a post-Arsene Wenger world with Unai Emery. Both managers have found it tough-going at times.
But there are great players at the London clubs, and ahead of Saturday night’s showdown at the Emirates, we’ve come up with our Arsenal & Chelsea XI…
GK – Kepa Arrizabalaga
Arsenal’s acquisition of Bernd Leno has brought the Gunners’ up to speed with the modern goalkeeper. But the German has made a couple of notable errors this term.
Not so Chelsea’s Kepa Arrizabalaga. The Spaniard arrived for big money as Thibaut Courtois’s successor, and has done a fine job so far, keeping 10 clean sheets in the Premier League.
DF – Cesar Azpilicueta
Chelsea’s true unsung hero gets the right-back spot. Cesar Azpilcueta rarely puts a foot wrong on the right flank of defence. He’s arguably the Blues’ most consistent performer.
Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin may have a greater impact going forward, but the Spaniard hasn’t impressed this season, and has suffered injuries too.
DF – David Luiz
He has his detractors, but there’s no doubting David Luiz’s capabilities. And the Brazilian has settled into Sarri’s ethos excellently.
Luiz has formed a fine partnership with Antonio Rudiger at the heart of the Chelsea defence. With Arsenal’s centre-halves making errors on a near-weekly basis, Luiz strolls into our eleven.
DF – Antonio Rudiger
With Chelsea having conceded 15 goals fewer than their London rivals, we can’t justify sticking an Arsenal centre-back in our XI.
Like Luiz, Rudiger has given Sarri a solid platform from which to build. The German has been ever-present for the Blues, too.
DF – Marcos Alonso
Had Nacho Monreal been fully fit this term, then the Arsenal man may have snuck in ahead of Marcos Alonso.
But the Gunners’ left-back has missed half of the season, while Alonso has been his usual effective self for Chelsea, producing five assists along the way.
MF – Lucas Torreira
Arsenal haven’t made many impressive signings in recent years, but Lucas Torreira looks like a fine exception.
The Uruguayan has impressed right from the off in North London, bringing the Gunners some much-needed control and poise in the midfield.
MF – N’Golo Kante
Of course everyone’s favourite midfielder is in our team. Despite being utilised in a new high-pressing role by Sarri, Kante remains an integral part of Chelsea’s system.
Few players come close to matching Kante’s ball-winning attributes. He’s the core of this XI.
MF – Mesut Ozil
A tough one this, with Chelsea duo Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic in the frame, but we’re sticking our necks out and given Mesut Ozil the keys to unlock this London dream team.
It’s clear that some sort of power struggle is ongoing between the German and his new boss Unai Emery, but nobody is questioning Ozil’s sublime range of creativity when on the ball.
FW – Eden Hazard
Chelsea’s Belgian ace is the star of our team. Eden Hazard may have tailed off a touch since opening the campaign with seven goals in eight games, but he remains a world class winger capable of a winning a game in an instant.
FW – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Arsenal’s number 14 is in many ways the striker Sarri dreams of having at Arsenal.
A clinical finisher with great pace and movement, Aubameyang should be scoring hatfuls in our XI.
FW – Alexandre Lacazette
There’s certainly a claim for Olivier Giroud in this squad, but the Frenchman just doesn’t score enough goals, while Alvaro Morata isn’t doing much better either.
So Alexandre Lacazette gets the final spot. The Frenchman hasn’t quite bagged as many goals as he’d have liked this term, but his link-up and expert finishing outstrip what Morata and Giroud can offer.
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