Arsenal fans are obviously expecting to see new Emirates resident Mohamed Elneny make his debut against Chelsea this weekend, but the Blues could name a debutant of their own.
Reports suggest Chelsea are set to complete the signing of Brazilian striker Alexandre Pato ahead of this weekend’s fixture list, and he could be registered in time to play against us on Sunday (via The Independent).
Elneny was obviously eligible to make his debut against Stoke City this past weekend, but was only named on the bench by Arsene Wenger. Adjusting to the Premier League takes time, and the manager clearly wants to ease the Egyptian international into things.
Chelsea may not have such a luxury though, with some serious issues up front for Guus Hiddink. Diego Costa may be starting to find some semblance of the form he showed last season, but that’s as far as their options really go. Radamel Falcao has been left out in the cold due to his shocking form, and Loic Remy has been restricted to appearances off the bench – and even then he’s struggled for game time.
With Costa potentially set to miss the trip to the Emirates with a bruised fibia (via IBT), Hiddink has some decisions to make. Pato being thrown in at the deep end obviously wouldn’t be the manager’s first choice, but if he really lacks faith in Falcao and Remy, he may opt to go with his new striker.
We’re in a somewhat similar position, with our options in midfield rather limited. Mathieu Flamini and Calum Chambers have done a decent job, but they can’t hold a candle to Francis Coquelin. We’re hoping Elneny will offer us a little more in that role, although Wenger may still believe this weekend is too soon for the 23-year-old to be handed a start.
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If Chelsea really do complete the signing in time, it seems most likely that we’ll see cameo roles from both players off the bench. Injuries may play a large part in both managers’ thought processes though.