Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri is likely to make several changes to his side to face Southampton on Sunday.
After Sarri fielded a weakened team during the 1-0 victory over MOL Vidi in the Europa League on Thursday, it is expected that several first-team regulars will return to the Blues’ starting side.
The likes of Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Jorginho, N’Golo Kante and Marcos Alonso, who have started every league game this season, were not used against Vidi and could all return to the fold.
Here is who we predict will start for Chelsea in their final match before the international break.
Predicted team: (4-3-3) Kepa Arrizabalga; Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Antonio Rudiger, Marcos Alonso; N’Golo Kante, Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic; Willian, Olivier Giroud, Eden Hazard
Predicted substitutes: Willy Caballero, Davide Zappacosta, Andreas Christensen, Ross Barkley, Cesc Fabregas, Pedro, Alvaro Morata
Kepa Arrizabalaga has kept five clean sheets during his nine Chelsea appearances, two of which have been in the Europa League. He will keep his place in between the sticks and will hope to go into the international break with six shutouts in 10 for the Blues.
Azpilicueta, who has captained Chelsea during the Premier League and Carabao Cup this term, was spared for the victory over Vidi and should return ahead of Davide Zappacosta at right-back.
Gary Cahill’s only starts this season came during wins over Liverpool and Vidi, where he was partnered by Andreas Christensen in the middle of the defence. Having also not featured against Vidi, Antonio Rudiger and David Luiz are likely to reclaim their places at centre-back for the trip to St Mary’s Stadium.
Alonso, who has been included in Spain’s squad for their upcoming clashes with Wales and England, is also set to come back into the side ahead of Emerson at left-back.
Kante and Jorginho were also not utilised against the Hungarian league champions, but alongside Mateo Kovacic, they should start in the three-man midfield.
Eden Hazard is amongst the six candidates to win September’s Premier League Player of the Month award, having been officially announced on the shortlist on Friday. The Belgian could replace Pedro and start on the left-wing, with Willian moving to the right.
Despite ending his goal-drought against Vidi, Alvaro Morata is also likely to make way, with Olivier Giroud set to take his place.
Southampton’s poor home form combined with Chelsea’s strong start to the season makes it difficult to see anything other than a Chelsea victory.
Score prediction: Southampton 1-2 Chelsea