MX23RW : Monday, August 20 15:21:29

How Chelsea could line up against Manchester City

Sports Mole predicts the starting lineup that Maurizio Sarri could name for Chelsea's meeting with Manchester City in the Community Shield.

FA Cup holders Chelsea take on Premier League champions Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on Sunday afternoon in the annual Community Shield curtain-raiser.

For the Blues it is another chance for new boss Maurizio Sarri to experiment ahead of his debut campaign in English football, having been brought in to replace Antonio Conte earlier this summer.

Sarri will almost certainly go with his tried and tested 4-3-3 formation, which brought entertainment and relative success across three years at Napoli, though a number of his star men remain absent given their World Cup exertions.

Here, Sports Mole looks at how Chelsea could line up this weekend.


Chelsea Predicted XI vs. Manchester City© Reuters

Sarri used the same formation and players for Chelsea's first two pre-season outings - a 1-0 win over Perth Glory and 1-1 draw against Inter Milan.

Three changes were then made for the 1-1 draw with Arsenal on Wednesday evening, with Willy Caballero, Antonio Rudiger and Cesar Azpilicueta all coming into the side.

Chelsea's switch back to a four-man defence will surely mean regular football at full-back for the versatile Azpilicueta, while Marcos Alonso is the frontrunner to start on the opposite flank.

The big question that remains to be answered is who will link up alongside Rudiger in the heart of the Blues' defence, as David Luiz, Ethan Ampadu and Andreas Christensen - still regaining fitness after Denmark's World Cup campaign - are all in contention.

With Willian and Eden Hazard still absent, Callum Hudson-Odoi has taken full advantage and was once again Chelsea's star performer against Arsenal in midweek, which should mean the youngster retaining his place alongside Pedro and Alvaro Morata.

Further back, meanwhile, Caballero looked shaky at times against the Gunners, whereas youngster Marcin Bulka produced two big saves in his 12 minutes on the field and may well retain the jersey ahead of Thibaut Courtois's imminent return.

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Alvaro Morata celebrates scoring for Chelsea on September 23, 2017
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