Graham Potter facing Arsenal dilemma after Mason Mount comments

Chelsea v Dinamo Zagreb: Match in pictures

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Chelsea boss Graham Potter looks set to face a selection headache in the middle of the park when the Blues entertain Premier League table-toppers Arsenal on Sunday afternoon. The match will see the two London rivals go head-to-head at Stamford Bridge for the cross-city bragging rights as Chelsea look to maintain their positive start under Potter’s guidance by claiming all three points.

The Blues managed to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League as Group E winners by coming from behind to beat Dinamo Zagreb on Tuesday evening, with Mason Mount putting in a man-of-the-match performance to inspire his side to a morale-boosting victory in front of their own fans. However, it was the performance of Denis Zakaria that stole the show and it remains to be seen whether he will be given another chance to impress against Arsenal on the weekend.

The Swiss midfielder, who joined Chelsea on loan from Borussia Monchengladbach over the summer, made his debut for the west Londoners on Tuesday and delivered a strong showing to stake his claim for a place in midfield when the Gunners visit Stamford Bridge on Sunday. He chipped in with the winning goal of the game from the edge of the area to make a big contribution for the Blues, with Mount showering Zakaria’s performance in high praise when quizzed on the topic after the match.

“Denis Zakaria came in and was unbelievable,” said Mount. “He deserves man of the match more than me, and he scored as well! To step up after not playing, and starting the game, was brilliant. I’m very happy for him to get this opportunity and to do so well.”

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Zakaria did not play a single minute of football for Chelsea prior to his impressive cameo against Dinamo Zagreb, with the performances of Ruben Loftus-Cheek and the club’s early change in management having kept him out of the side for the first few months of the campaign. His performance on Tuesday will have gone a long way to earning Potter’s trust, although it remains unclear if the Chelsea boss will opt to start the midfielder against Arsenal on Sunday.

He appeared to suffer from cramp during the closing stages of his Blues debut, which suggests that he may not be risked for the visit of the Gunners as he looks to build up his match fitness over the coming weeks. Potter has also selected the likes of Loftus-Cheek, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic ahead of Zakaria in recent matches and could be tempted to stick to what he knows best against Arsenal, who are likely to provide the Blues with the sternest test of their Premier League campaign thus far.

Zakaria was hailed by Potter after his match-winning contribution against Dinamo Zagreb, with the Chelsea manager paying tribute to his unwavering determination and work ethic on the training ground over the last few weeks.

“He’s been, as you can imagine, frustrated and disappointed when he doesn’t play, that’s the life of a player but he’s handled himself really well,” began Potter. 

“He’s kept himself fit, he’s trained really hard, supported the team and his team-mates in a really good way. When you do that, you give yourself a chance to perform when your opportunity comes, so credit to him. Everyone was so happy for him and it was a great story for the whole group, I think.”

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