Here we are again: a week later, licking our wounds, and trying to bounce back after yet another disappointing display. Our next game on the agenda is against Crystal Palace, a fixture which hasn't necessarily been one of our favourites in recent history. Both home games against our London rivals concluded in 1-2 defeats over the past two years, this year's away fixture also ending with Chelsea on the receiving end. In short, of all the 'lesser opposition', with all due respect to them, we could play right now Palace is definitely our bogey team and not the first name that comes to mind if we want an easy opponent.
However, it's no use crying over spilled milk as we can only hope that Antonio manages to get his line up right and also decides to actually use his substitutes correctly this time, if need be. A formation with enough attacking intent seems a good choice as we should be the ones taking the game to them, not the other way around. It also remains to be seen whether Conte makes the one or the other personnel choice with regard to the Barcelona game on Wednesday.
Despite recent lapses in concentration, I'd nevertheless continue utilizing the back 3 which has started the past few games as there's arguably no other choice anyway. The wing backs should see some rotation as Emerson and Zappacosta come in, the former replacing Alonso who had just come back from an injury prior to United, a rest possibly being a good choice for him before our vital Champions League clash (a fresh Alonso is the best kind of Alonso). The midfield stays the same, Kante having missed last week's game making him (hopefully) fresh.
In attack, I would like to see Giroud get a start, especially against a defense such as that of Palace as I believe the tall Frenchman would be able to bully their CBs rather well. Due to this possibly posing a more rugged challenge up top, starting Morata might lead to constant falling over, thus my choice. The other two pick themselves once again.
My predicted line-up:
Courtois | Rüdiger, Christensen, Azpilicueta | Emerson, Kante, Fabregas, Zappacosta | Hazard, Giroud, Willian
The WAGNH community’s preferred line-up is slighty different; what definitely is the case: most players have lower percentages than normal, pointing towards an insecurity among fans regarding who should be starting at the moment. Interesting: Zappacosta and Moses (42%) were picked (more or less) equally often, the former edging it by the finest of margins. There is a similar case at the ST position, Giroud only lying a tad ahead of Morata (52%).
Courtois (89%) | Rüdiger (80%), Christensen (87%), Azpilicueta (96%) | Alonso (53%), Kante (90%), Fabregas (67%), Zappacosta (43%) | Hazard (92%), Giroud (55%), Willian (84%)