The Blues coach appears to be playing with three centre-backs, with Marc Cucurella as one of them and Raheem Sterling at wing-back. That means no place for Koulibaly, who has been in good recent form but has suffered a couple of injury setbacks since his summer arrival from Napoli.
Kovacic also picked up a knock in Chelsea's Champions League win over Dinamo Zagreb and is only deemed fit enough for the bench. The 28-year-old midfielder has been excellent whenever he has played this term, but Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Jorginho have been given the nod ahead of the Croatian.
Ahead of their huge London derby at Stamford Bridge, supporters took to Twitter to criticize Potter's team selection, as the Blues look to close a ten-point gap between themselves and Arsenal:
Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard determined to send message by beating Chelsea
With just two weeks to go until the FIFA World Cup, Arsenal will be desperate to be top of the table heading into the break.
Odegaard has been in superb form this season and is determined for Arsenal to begin beating top sides away from home, as he stated (as per The Mirror):
“These things are important for the confidence and for the feeling that we can beat these top teams away from home as well. The Manchester United game was frustrating for us. We controlled the game and played good football but we suddenly just gave away some easy goals and we lost the game. This is a game where we have to show a different side compared to the United game. We have to be ready to win these games, that’s important for us now.”
The 23-year-old further added:
“I don’t think it’s too important but it gives you a good feeling, you have good memories. It brings maybe that little extra confidence into the game. It’s not too important but it’s good to have that feeling and we have to try to do that again. This will be a tough game. It’s a different Chelsea team with a new manager."
“But we played Brighton a lot with this manager and it’s always tough to play his teams. They have been almost playing man-to-man all over [under Potter]. They made it really difficult for us and I’m sure it will be some of the same things, but I guess Chelsea has to do thing a bit differently. He’s a very technically strong manager and it’s going to be a big battle.”