Cardiff City vs Chelsea predictions: Chelsea line-up
Premier League football is back and for Chelsea, it’s time to pull up their socks and start performing. They’ve only managed two wins in their last five games, against Tottenham and Fulham. Barring that, the Blues have lost games to both Manchester City and Everton, with a 1-1 draw against Wolves.
With just eight games left, chances of finishing in the top four are diminishing game by game. To make things even worse, the Blues are closer to seventh-placed Wolves, than they are to league leaders Liverpool. It doesn’t make for good reading but with a clash against Cardiff City, it allows them to make up for recent results.
The Bluebirds aren’t on the best run themselves, with just two wins in their last five games. This includes three losses and a 2-0 victory over West Ham which does bring them closer to stepping outside the relegation zone.
Maurizio Sarri doesn’t have a fully fit team at his disposal but he does have all of his first-team stars full fit. Only Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Davide Zappacosta, Marco Van Ginkel and Ethan Ampadu are out injured long-term.
Probable Chelsea XI
Manager: Maurizio Sarri
Kepa Arrizabalga (GK)
The Spaniard is the world’s most expensive goalkeeper and has made his mark in England despite his antics in the EFL Cup final.
Cesar Azpilicueta (RB)
Chelsea’s consistent man, the Spaniard has played every game so far for the Blues and should continue that trend.
David Luiz (CB)
While he was ousted under Antonio Conte, the Brazilian has become a permanent fixture under Sarri, with 28 appearances to his name.
Antonio Rudiger (CB)
The German international did play in the international break but despite that, he should keep his place in the starting line-up.
While Marcos Alonso is the first choice, the Spaniard hasn’t impressed this season and thus, this might give Emerson a chance.
He arrived alongside Maurizio Sarri and has divided opinions like his manager, but the Italian remains a consistent mark on the team-sheet.
N’Golo Kante (CM)
The best defensive midfielder in the world, the 27-year-old is one of the two players to have played all 30 games this season.
Ross Barkley (CM)
The former Everton man impressed during the international break, scoring two goals and creating two more.
With 26 appearances to his name, the Brazilian has done relatively well, producing nine goals this season.
Olivier Giroud (CF)
Gonzalo Higuain hasn’t exactly lit England on fire since arriving in January and Olivier Giroud’s recent form could see him get the starting spot instead.
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Eden Hazard (LW)
Chelsea’s world-class superstar, the Belgian has been impeccably brilliant this season with 13 goals and 11 assists to his name.