Giroud may be forced to make way for Mo­rata

The Observer - Sport - - Football Premier League - Matt McGeechan

Mau­r­izio Sarri is ex­pected to re­vert to his fi rst- choice side when Chelsea meet Ful­ham in to­day’s west Lon­don derby, with the main se­lec­tion dilemma be­tween Ál­varo Mo­rata and Olivier Giroud up front.

Sarri in­sisted last Sat­ur­day’s loss to Tot­ten­ham was not down to one or two play­ers and hinted af­ter Thurs­day’s 4- 0 Eu­ropa League win over Paok Salonika that he planned to re­store his fi rst- choice line up to face Ful­ham, who won their fi rst game un­der Clau­dio Ranieri.

Giroud scored twice against Paok, but has been a sec­ond choice in the Premier League be­hind Mo­rata, who also scored af­ter com­ing on as a sub­sti­tute. An ap­par­ent an­kle knock may rule Giroud out from se­lec­tion and Sarri is happy with Mo­rata’s form. The Spain striker sported a new buzz cut and a stern face when cel­e­brat­ing against Paok.

“With a new hair­cut he scored with a header,” said Sarri, when asked if Mo­rata’s hair hinted at a no- non­sense ap­proach. “Mo­rata is se­ri­ous. It’s not a prob­lem. His at­ti­tude is not a prob­lem for the group, for me in train­ing he’s do­ing very well. In the last month he has scored.”

For all the sug­ges­tions of Mo­rata un­der- per­form­ing this sea­son, he has fi ve Premier League goals, two fewer than Eden Haz­ard. Chelsea’s lead­ing scorer is ex­pected to shake off an an­kle prob­lem to fea­ture against Ful­ham.

N’Golo Kanté, César Azpilicueta, David Luiz and An­to­nio Rüdi­ger are an­tic­i­pated to re­turn af­ter be­ing rested on Thurs­day, along with Jorginho and Mar­cos Alonso, who were un­used sub­sti­tutes against Paok. Ma­teo Ko­vacic is likely to dis­place Ross Barkley in midfi eld, while Wil­lian is also set to start start.

The game is Chelse Chelsea’s fi rst of nine matches in De­cem De­cem­ber, which in in­clude Wedne Wed­nes­day’s game at Wolves and Sat­ur­day’s with the leag league lead­ers, Man Manch­ester City.

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