Record signing Romelu Lukaku returns for his second Chelsea debut against Arsenal at Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
Having last appeared for the Blues during the 2013-14 campaign, Thomas Tuchel hands Lukaku his first start since he rejoined the club and leaves Timo Werner on the bench for the Premier League clash.
The Belgium forward, who netted 24 goals in 36 Serie A appearances to fire Inter to the Scudetto last term, will be joined by Mason Mount and Kai Havertz for support up top.
Christian Pulisic misses out due to COVID-19 with Havertz taking his place, while Reece James replaces Trevoh Chalobah, meaning Cesar Azpilicueta moves back to centre-back.
Behind the visitors’ three-man defence, Edouard Mendy retains his place – the former Rennes goalkeeper keeping the most clean sheets in the Premier League (10) since Tuchel’s appointment in January.
Chelsea are looking for their fifth consecutive away London derby league victory, last achieving such a feat under Jose Mourinho between January 2005 and January 2006.
Lukaku starts for the Blues!
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) August 22, 2021
However, Mikel Arteta’s men were victorious in both fixtures last term, though they have not won three in a row in the competition since February 2004.
Arsenal are without Ben White, who misses out through COVID-19, so Rob Holding comes in at centre-back.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who tested positive for coronavirus prior to the defeat to Brentford last weekend, returns and is listed among the substitutes, but Alexandre Lacazette and Willian are both out after their positive tests.
New addition Martin Odegaard is not in the squad, but Arteta’s other midweek signing Aaron Ramsdale makes the bench.
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