London’s finest: Coral’s excellent Arsenal and Chelsea combined XI
As London giants Arsenal (11/8 with Coral for victory) and Chelsea (9/5) prepare to square-up at the Emirates, Coral experts select a strongest combined starting XI from the cross-capital rivals, cherry-picked only from players fit and able.
Read on to see which Gunners and Blues made the grade, and who missed our final cut.
Goalkeeper: Thibaut Courtois
Perhaps only behind David de Gea as top Premier League stopper, composed custodian Courtois has taken to the Premier League like a duck to water. Supplanting Chelsea legend Petr Cech is certainly nothing to be scoffed at, and the Blues are 19/4 to win to nil with the big Belgian in net.
Right back: Hector Bellerin
The first of our sensational Spanish performers to feature in this XI, 20-year-old Bellerin pips experienced Branislav Ivanovic to the post. A former Barca boy, the flying full back has put in a series of impressive performances belying his young age.
Centre back: Gary Cahill
Chelsea are 27/10 to keep a clean sheet with calming Cahill in defence. Gunners options Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny simply cannot compete against the sturdy centre back when it comes to consistency.
Centre back: John Terry
Tenacious Terry has been rightly lauded for his recent renaissance, and Arsenal will have their work cut out to beat the Blues’ backline with the Stamford Bridge skipper bossing Chelsea’s robust rearguard.
Left back: Cesar Azpilicueta
Dependable defender Azpilicueta is another Spaniard that has been sizzling in London this season. Not one for rampaging down the flank, or fancy flicks, the former Marseille man quietly and confidently locks down opposition attacks with ease.
Defensive midfield: Nemanja Matic
Marvellous midfield shield Matic is a crucial cog for the Stamford Bridge side, and although Francis Coquelin has impressed for Arsenal of late, he cannot yet match the steely, and surprisingly skillful, Serbian for impact.
Central midfield: Cesc Fabregas
Fantastic Fabregas has not disappointed since his return to England, and the Barcelona-schooled conductor has crafted a table topping 16 league assists this season. Now the prodigal son is set to return to ex-club Arsenal, and is 4/1 to break Emirates hearts anytime.
Central midfield: Santi Cazorla
Spanish schemers continue to dominate this starting XI, but cunning Cazorla certainly deserves his spot alongside compatriot Fabregas. Having adapted excellently to playing a deeper role, the midfield dictator keeps improving with age, and has contributed seven goals and nine assists to Arsenal’s Premier League campaign.
Right forward: Alexis Sanchez
Sensational Sanchez (15/8 to strike anytime) is exactly what Arsenal have been missing in attack, and the Chile international’s mix of strength, speed, determination, flair and goal threat has made him a perfect fit for the Premier League.
Centre forwad: Olivier Giroud
With dangerous Diego Costa sidelined and goal machine Giroud’s recent fantastic form, there could be no other pick for the poaching berth. The ferocious French forward has struck 14 Premier League goals, including seven in his last seven, so is a superb punt at 6/1 to open the scoring against Chelsea.
Left forward: Eden Hazard
Exciting Hazard continues to excel and improve under Jose Mourinho’s instruction, and the brilliant Belgian wing wizard, no doubt currently brimming with confidence after bagging the winner against Manchester United, is capable of putting any top club on the backfoot. Back him at 6/1 to fire the last shot at the Gunners.