Chelsea prepare themselves for the new Premier League season with a Community Shield game against Manchester City on Sunday. Both teams are expected to be without key players following the recent World Cup but the Blues appear to have a genuine advantage with the Citizens having not been able to introduce their first-team regulars during pre-season.
Marcin Bulka has started in two of the Blues’ three pre-season games this summer and the Pole could get the nod over Willy Caballero, who has tended to make the odd mistake. The 18-year-old made a couple of sublime saves as a substitute during the recent penalty shoot-out defeat to Arsenal.
In defence, Cesar Azpilicueta has been allowed to shift into his preferred right-back position this summer and the Spaniard should maintain his role with Marcos Alonso operating in the opposite flank. At the heart of the backline, Sarri may prefer to go with the experience of David Luiz and we are fancying the Brazilian to partner Antonio Rudiger, who has looked much assured with his performances in pre-season.
Onto the midfield, summer signing Jorginho is a genuine starter in the holding role, having started every pre-season game to date. Ahead of him, Cesc Fabregas and Ross Barkley should take up their positions ahead of Tiemoue Bakayoko, whose future has come under consideration in recent weeks.
Further forward, Callum Hudson-Odoi could earn another start on the left wing after starring during the recent friendly defeat to Arsenal. The 17-year-old was a constant menace to the Gunners’ defence as he got the better of Hector Bellerin and a similar display would put him in the good books of Sarri.
Aside from this, Pedro should take up the right-wing role ahead of Willian after going through the entire pre-season schedule whilst Alvaro Morata is very much certain to lead the line. The Spaniard remains the only striker at disposal at present and hopefully his change to the number 29 shirt brings him better fortunes.
Predicted Chelsea XI (4-3-3): Marcin Bulka; Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger, David Luiz, Marcos Alonso; Jorginho, Cesc Fabregas, Ross Barkley; Callum Hudson-Odoi, Pedro, Alvaro Morata