Welcome to the last predicted line-up of the season, folks! In a season many would describe as “tragic”, there remains the possibility of winning a shiny and prestigious trophy!
For the season, the score stands at “1-1” between Chelsea and Manchester United as both teams won their home matches by the slimmest of margins. We once considered Wembley our second home, and may yet call it our temporary home for a while in the near future, so let's hope it treats us better than the non-London side.
Having spent the last week rotating his lineups, much to everyone’s chagrin, and collecting terrible results, much to everyone’s displeasure, we safely assume that Antonio's going to go with his best, fullest-strength lineup. Or at least what he thinks is his best option, which is probably a three-man midfield like against Liverpool. Unless we’re ready to believe that he’s sabotaging his own chances of winning his first ever knockout competition trophy. So, let’s do this!
Despite goalkeeper Wilfredo Caballero having started all the previous FA Cup games, I've got a hunch that Conte will nevertheless start with Thibaut Courtois — it’s a similar pattern to what we saw in the League Cup, where Courtois started both legs of the semifinal. In defense, the only logical decision would be to choose the trio that won 4 games on the trot while conceding a mere 2 goals: Antonio Rüdiger, Gary Cahill and César Azpilicueta.
Coming to our wing-backs, since Emerson is set to miss tomorrow's game due to injury, there isn't really a lot of choice in this department and thus Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso are the obvious choices here (though the Italo-Brazilian would most likely not start anyway). In midfield, I believe Conte will have to choose the three of N’Golo Kanté, Cesc Fábregas and Tiémoué Bakayoko, as we've once again got no real alternatives here due to Danny Drinkwater being M.I.A. and Pedro's continuous poor form.
Last but not least, we've got the attack. Olivier Giroud and Eden Hazard just have to start as the front 2 and I say this without a shadow of a doubt in my mind that Conte will do the same. Given that neither of them played particularly well against Newcastle (that's an understatement that applies to just about every Chelsea player) but if anyone is going to hurt that United team then it'll be one of those two. As Hazard goes, so do Chelsea, so now here is his chance to lead us to the trophy.
Courtois | Rüdiger, Cahill, Azpilicueta | Alonso, Kanté, Bakayoko, Fàbregas, Moses | Giroud, Hazard
The WAGNH community’s preferred line-up mirrors the predicted one as the 3-5-2/3-5-1-1 (53%) was clearly preferred to the 3-4-3 (30%) and the starting eleven is the exact same. It's important to note that, due to the community also favouring a 3 man midfield, Willian (62%) is dropped for Bakayoko despite having received more votes than the Frenchman. Otherwise, all the picked players were more or less clear-cut choices percentage-wise.
Courtois (88%) | Rüdiger (91%), Cahill (65%), Azpilicueta (99%) | Alonso (86%), Fàbregas (73%), Kanté (99%), Bakayoko (54%), Moses (80%) | Hazard (97%), Giroud (80%)