Chelsea will take on Arsenal in the Premier League on Sunday, Sept. 17. Here’s the best combined XI from the two squads.
Two of the most storied clubs in Premier League history will hope to earn some early-season points to climb up the Premier League table on Sunday. Chelsea currently sit in third place with nine points and Arsenal are in 11th with a disappointing six points through four matches.
The two sides have both had success against each other in recent matches. In their past five meetings, Arsenal have won two, lost two and drawn one, their most recent fixture, June’s Community Shield. But Chelsea are certainly in better form heading into the weekend.
This XI has been selected only from the players fit and available for selection come Sunday, and we’ll be using a 4-3-3 lineup. The Gunners played with three in the back to start this season, but have also switched to a back four when chasing games, and we opted with a back four here to play to the strengths of the players on both teams.
GK: Thibaut Courtois
This selection was a battle between a current Chelsea star and a legend from Blues past. Petr Cech has been far from his best to start the season. Arsenal gave up eight goals in the first three matches, and the Czech goalie was at fault for at least two of those goals. Cech, 35, has passed his prime and is done improving.
Chelsea, on the other hand, have allowed just one goal in their last three matches. This includes a 6-0 victory over Qarabag in the Champions League on Tuesday. He’s made nine saves in four Premier League matches to start the season. Courtois is at the top, making this an easy decision.
CBs: Laurent Koscielny, David Luiz
Laurent Koscielny missed time over the summer for the Gunners, but since his return he has looked as solid as ever. Both him and David Luiz are strong and good in the air which is always important.
Koscielny and Luiz are also both excellent with the ball at their feet, and capable of bringing the ball out from the back to start attacks. Cesar Azpilicueta, who has been excellent for Chelsea on the right of the back three, deserves a mention but he misses out in a back four.
LB, RB: Marcos Alonso, Hector Bellerin
Marcos Alonso and Hector Bellerin are young speedsters who can both attack and defend. Bellerin has proven himself as a talented contributor to the Arsenal attack. He’s always looking for opportunities to move forward and send crosses into the middle. Meanwhile, Alonso contributed a brace in Chelsea’s win against Tottenham in the second match of the season, just the latest example of his attacking quality.
Bellerin is arguably the best right-back in the Premier League, so that was an obvious choice. However, Sead Kolasinac, who was just acquired by Arsenal, might fit well at left-back. Alonso and Bellerin playing in tandem could create tons of chances and would cause a huge headache to defenses across the league.
CDM: N’Golo Kante
N’Golo Kante is the obvious choice to be a rock in the midfield. He hasn’t missed a beat since joining Chelsea from Leicester. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted to trying to sign Kante on two occasions, so both managers would obviously love to have him.
Kante isn’t big, but his ability to cover ground is unrivaled and he’s become one of the best players in the league. He even chipped in a with a goal last week, scoring from 30 yards against his old club, Leicester.
CMs: Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil
With Kante in holding midfield, you have the freedom to play some more attack-minded midfielders around him. Aaron Ramsey has had some patchy form in the past year or so, but at his best his late runs into the box and energy with and without the ball add another dimension to Arsenal’s midfield.
As for Ozil, he’s one of the most divisive players in the Premier League, and often seems to drift out of games, but his ability to pick a pass in the final third is almost unrivaled. Surround him with quality, and Ozil will shine. He makes great players better. Speaking of which …
LW, RW: Alexis Sanchez, Eden Hazard
This would be one of the most dangerous winger duos in Premier League, if not Europe. Sanchez scored 24 goals last season, and despite expressing his desire to leave Arsenal this summer, will be a key player until his contract runs out.
Eden Hazard, meanwhile, has emerged as probably the best player in the Premier League and along with Kante was the driving force behind Chelsea’s title triumph in 2016-17. As a pair, Hazard and Sanchez would be lethal.
Striker: Alvaro Morata
With Diego Costa in exile, and seemingly on his way out, Alvaro Morata has excelled as Chelsea’s new center-forward. The Spaniard already has three goals and two assists at his new club, and has filled in for Costa superbly.
Arsenal’s new striker, Alexandre Lacazette, has had a solid start as well, scoring twice in three starts, but given the pace and trickery Sanchez and Hazard would provide this combined XI, Morata seems like a better fit given his ability to hold up the ball and his quality in the air.