Chelsea must act quickly to forget the controversy of their Carabao Cup final defeat to Manchester City as they prepare to take on Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday night.

The Blues lost on penalties after a good performance, but it was all overshadowed as Kepa Arrizabalaga appeared to refuse Maurizio Sarri’s substitution orders.

Kepa won the battle but lost the shoot-out, which included a poor attempt at saving Sergio Aguero’s tame effort.

But, the Premier League returns in midweek for Chelsea as they look to step up in their fight for a Champions League place with a feisty London derby.

The two sides have already met three times this season with Spurs winning twice to Chelsea’s one, though that victory came in the last meeting at Stamford Bridge.

Both teams go into the game off the back of defeats, but how will they line up on Wednesday evening? Read on for Chelsea v Tottenham predicted XIs from several media outlets.

1. Kepa starts

The biggest talking point in the build up to Wednesday’s game is undoubtedly whether Kepa will start following his Carabao Cup final moment.

There has been a lot of debate discussing whether the Spaniard should be dropped from the starting XI, but this is a big game and Sarri needs to put out a full-strength line-up.

Sarri has admitted he has not decided on Kepa’s place in the team, insisting his choice will “send a message” to the rest of his squad, but Chelsea’s back five should be the same one that started on Sunday, giving Emerson the nod over Marcos Alonso once more after an impressive performance.

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In midfield, Mateo Kovacic will likely replace Ross Barkley are being rested completely against Man City, though Ruben Loftus-Cheek could make a surprise start after a good substitute appearance. In attack, Gonzalo Higuain should return with Pedro dropping to the bench.

Sarri has become largely predictable with his Chelsea starting XIs this season, often picking the same team when there are no restrictions.

Having rested a few key players for the majority of Chelsea’s win over Malmo, the Italian is likely to return to his favoured XI despite a busy fixture list over the next two weeks.

Predicted Chelsea XI: Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Emerson; Jorginho; Kante, Kovacic; Willian, Higuain, Hazard.

Tottenham have experimented with three central defenders in recent games and will be likely to continue with the formation despite defeat to Burnley last time out.

In playing with wing-backs, Spurs can use Danny Rose’s attacking nature to exploit gaps left by Chelsea’s own full-backs as they did in the second half of their Carabao Cup semi-final second leg.

Davinson Sanchez and Kieran Trippier missed the trip to Turf Moor but should be set to return alongside Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen as the defensive players, while Harry Winks and Moussa Sissoko make up the midfield.

Harry Kane will continue up front with Son Heung-min alongside him, playing just in front of Christian Eriksen forming Tottenham’s vital trident.

Predicted Tottenham XI: Lloris; Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Sanchez; Trippier, Sissoko, Winks, Rose; Eriksen; Son, Kane.

2. Ruben Loftus-Cheek gets the nod

One of the positives from Chelsea’s defeat to Man City at the weekend was the promising performance of Loftus-Cheek when he came off the bench.

The Englishman provided one of the highlights of the match with a beautiful first touch to take the ball around Kyle Walker before playing in Eden Hazard, though the Belgian was narrowly ruled offside.

Nevertheless, the Express believe Loftus-Cheek’s performance is enough to see him get the nod ahead of Barkley and Kovacic, joining N’Golo Kante and Jorginho in midfield.

The Express have also backed Kepa to keep his spot in goal, with Pedro started ahead of Willian on the right wing.

3. Emerson over Marcos Alonso

Alonso has had a torrid time in recent weeks and was resoundly criticised for his lapses in concentration during the 6-0 defeat to Manchester City.

The Spaniard has divided opinion throughout his spell at Stamford Bridge as many fans – and pundits – are far from convinced by his defensive contributions.

Sarri dropped Alonso at Wembley and Emerson, who has scarcely featured since moving to west London from Roma in 2018, produced a confident display on the left flank.

With Alonso’s confidence dropping by the day, the Brazilian could be set for an extended spell in the side.

For many Chelsea supporters, the shift in selection policy should have taken place months ago and the Times are far from alone in suggesting Emerson will be the man charged with pinning back Kane and Co.

The Times predicted line-ups:

Chelsea XI: Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Ruidger, Emerson; Jorginho, Kante, Kovacic; Willian, Higuain, Hazard.

Tottenham XI: Lloris; Sanchez, Alderweireld, Vertonghen; Aurier, Sissoko, Winks, Rose; Eriksen, Son; Kane.

4. No Higuain

Sarri made no secret of his desire to sign a new striker in January, and the Italian got his wish in the form of Higuain.

The Argentina international has enjoyed a solid start to life in west London and it was somewhat of a surprise to see him benched at Wembley.

Instead, Hazard was deployed in a false No.9 role – and performed brilliantly – but does the position get the best out of the Belgian?

Chelsea certainly seem to lack a focal point with Hazard playing through the middle but Inews expect him to get the nod against Spurs.

The 28-year-old will have a battle on his hands given that Mauricio Pochettino is expected to name a back three packed with speed, height and physicality.

Inews predicted line-ups:

Chelsea XI: Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta, Ruidger, Luiz, Emerson; Jorginho, Kante, Barkley; Pedro, Hazard, Willian.

Tottenham XI: Lloris; Sanchez, Alderweireld, Vertonghen; Aurier, Sissoko, Winks, Rose; Eriksen, Son; Kane.

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