Henrikh Mkhitaryan became the latest Arsenal player to be handed the bench role ahead of Europa League duties. In the last game of the weekend, we saw Alvaro Morata firing Chelsea’s opener at home to Spurs in just his second start in eight league matches. In this Line-Up Focus piece, we assess the formations and teamsheets of Chelsea and Arsenal in Gameweek 32, with one eye on what’s to come from the midweek European matches and beyond.
Starting XI: Caballero, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger, Moses (Giroud 81′), Fabregas, Kante, Alonso (Emerson 83′), Willian, Morata (Hudson-Odoi 88′), Hazard. Unused Subs: Eduardo, Cahill, Drinkwater, Bakayoko.
Team Formation: Willy Caballero started in goal for the Blues as Thibaut Courtois failed to recover from a hamstring injury in time for the visit to Tottenham Hotspur to Stamford Bridge. Cesc Fabregas was preferred to Danny Drinkwater and Tiemoue Bakayoko in central midfield, while Alvaro Morata played as the lone striker. Chelsea ended the match in a 4-2-3-1, with substitute Olivier Giroud operating as the lone striker, while fellow substitute Callum Hudson-Odoi stationed on the left of the attacking midfield trio. Cesar Azpilicueta moved to right back after Victor Moses was withdrawn in the second half.
Analysis and Lessons learned: Despite the disappointing 3-1 defeat last weekend, Conte lacks the options to make changes for Sunday’s home fixture against West Ham United. Courtois may be ready to return in goal in place of Caballero with a week to prove his fitness. Also, after getting on the scoresheet at last week’s big fixture, Morata could retain his place up front. Drinkwater and Bakayoko could probably start in central midfield in place of Fabregas, while Gary Cahill could provide cover at the back. Victor Moses’ place could be challenged by Davide Zappacosta, who missed out on Sunday with a tendon problem but could return soon. Meanwhile, Pedro could also return after missing the Spurs defeat with a training ground injury.
Standout and Suggested Picks: Starting from the Blues’ backline, Alonso looks to be the best option but Christensen could be good enough too for managers who cannot stretch to the Spaniard. From the attackers, Willian should get us some points after disappointing many managers at the weekend. Morata could be a great differential for managers trying to make big leaps as his place looks set to me and his fixtures seem to be more than favourable.
Starting XI: Ospina, Bellerin, Mustafi, Chambers, Monreal, Wilshere (Mkhitaryan 76′), Elneny (Xhaka 76′), Ramsey, Ozil, Welbeck (Lacazette 61′), Aubameyang. Unused Subs: Koscielny, Iwobi, Kolasinac, Macey.
Team Formation: Arsene Wenger once again rested players against Stoke City ahead of the UEFA Europa League quarter-final first leg against CSKA Moscow. Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere were both fit and started in central midfield in a 4-3-3 system, but Calum Chambers started in place of Laurent Koscielny in central defence. David Ospina started in goal as Petr Cech was ruled out due to a groin injury. Henrikh Mkhitaryan came on as late substitutes, while Alexandre Lacazette returned from injury to play the last half hour. He was stationed as the lone striker, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang shifted to the left wing.
Analysis and Lessons learned: The home clash against Southampton comes just three days after the first leg against CSKA and the second leg follows just four days later in Russia. This could see Wenger once again preserving key players against the Saints. Chambers may retain his start ahead of Koscielny, while Sead Kolasinac and Ainsley Maitland-Niles would be viable starters in full-back positions. Xhaka appears a more likely starter in Gameweek 33 having played only 14 minutes against the Potters, with Ramsey probably dropping to the bench. Mkhitaryan also looks a more likely starter next weekend following his brief cameo appearance, with Alex Iwobi also coming into contention. Danny Welbeck and Wilshere could be possible rotation risks. But Aubameyang is not eligible to play in Europe and should retain his start in attack. Lacazette may start on Thursday night, making a substitute appearance likely once again next Sunday. If fit, Cech should replace Ospina in goal.
Standout and Suggested Picks: The Gunners have a decent run of fixtures until the end of the season, with a double Gameweek in Gameweek 37. Mustafi and Monreal are some defensive picks, who could also provide some goal threat at times. Mkhitaryan and Ramsey could be viable options, but only after their minutes are assured. Aubameyang remains to be the best Gunner on sale with some fantastic form and no European duty.
I hope you had a good read and that is all from my side this week. I wish you all the very best for the upcoming Gameweek.