Lose and feel a gulf between your club and your ambitions: This is the daunting early task for Chelsea and Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on Sunday (Watch live, 8:30 a.m. ET on CNBC and online via NBCSports.com).
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Mesut Ozil is out for Arsenal, while Alexis Sanchez starts on the bench. For Chelsea, there are the usual suspects with Willian holding his spot ahead of Eden Hazard.
Chelsea entered the season looking to defend its Premier League title while advancing deep into the UEFA Champions League. The Blues took their first step toward the latter on Tuesday with a home destruction of Qarabag, but go into Sunday’s match knowing a loss to Arsenal will have it more than a single result behind Manchester City and possibly Manchester United.
As for the Gunners, their poor start to the campaign has the North Londoners seven points back of City at the start of the day. The 12th place Gunners have two less days rest than Chelsea thanks to the Europa League, and are on the road with a minus-1 goal differential.
Chelsea: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill, Moses, Kante, Fabregas, Alonso, Willian, Morata, Pedro. Subs: Caballero, Christensen, Rudiger, Zappacosta, Bakayoko, Hazard, Batshuayi.
Arsenal: Cech, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Bellerin, Xhaka, Ramsey, Kolasinac; Iwobi, Welbeck; Lacazette. Subs: Ospina, Mertesacker, Maitland-Niles, Elneny, Alexis, Walcott, Giroud.