Eyes will be focused on the two new strikers at opposite ends of the pitch as Arsenal face Chelsea for the first piece of silverware on offer in the 2017-18 season.
The Gunners come into 2017-18 needing to make a statement after the drama surrounding Arsene Wenger’s contract which plagued their previous campaign and ended in a disastrous fifth place finish. Along with another trophy, the Frenchman would no doubt welcome the momentum that a win in this fixture would bring, with their first outing of the campaign against Leicester looming less than a week later.
On the other hand, Antonio Conte finished 2016-17 with his head in the clouds after claiming the Premier League crown, yet the offseason has been far from perfect for the Blues. Although the £70 million signing of Alvaro Morata was welcomed by supporters, it was only necessary after the manager’s falling out with Diego Costa and Manchester United’s hijacking of Chelsea’s desired transfer for Romelu Lukaku. Tiemoue Bakayoko and Antonio Rüdiger have also been added to the squad in preparations for their title defence.
Key Battle – Alexandre Lacazette vs Alvaro Morata
The two hitmen which have joined the London club’s arrived to much fanfare and there is no better stage then a derby for their respective debuts in England. Arsenal finally splashed the cash to secure a long time target in Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon and the 26-year-old immediately found the net in his first match for the club against Sydney FC. Lacazette registered an impressive 28 goals from 28 Ligue 1 appearances in 2016-17.
It initially appeared that Alvaro Morata would be heading for Manchester United, yet a £75 million deal for Lukaku ultimately left Chelsea desperately seeking another striker – with Costa outcast from the squad. The Premier League champions would have to spend £70 million themselves to bring the 24-year-old to Stamford Bridge, who may have seen limited time at Real Madrid last season, but still managed a return of 15 goals.
In a surprising twist for the Gunners, Alexis Sanchez could feature in the team despite his ongoing transfer saga. Francis Coquelin, Gabriel Paulista and Jack Wilshere are all doubtful, however.
New arrival Morata is also likely to start for the Blues, yet injuries to Eden Hazard and Pedro mean Michy Batshuayi could play as the central-striker. Bakayoko is an uncertainty as he recovers from knee surgery.
Expected Arsenal starting XI: Cech, Holding, Koscielny, Monreal, Chamberlain, Ramsey, Xhaka, Kolasinac, Ozil, Lacazette, Welbeck
Expected Chelsea starting XI: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill, Moses, Fabregas, Kante, Alonso, Willian, Batshuayi, Morata