The brilliant win against Tottenham and the signing of Gonzalo Higuaín have given Chelsea a much needed lift, and now we’ll be looking to continue that in the FA Cup. Championship side Sheffield Wednesday are tonight’s opponent, and should provide a great and increasingly rare opportunity for a fair amount of obvious squad rotation.
Kepa Arrizabalaga was once again brilliant in goal on Thursday; however, he deserves a rest and Willy Caballero is more than good enough to deputize for this game.
Andreas Christensen’s injury could lead to Ethan Ampadu getting the nod at center back, though his versatility could mean he ends up in midfield instead. Sarri had name-checked Ampadu as Gary Cahill’s replacement however, so center back seems more likely for the teenager. Rotation on the flanks and Rüdiger retaining his place also seem likely.
If fit, Ruben Loftus-Cheek could get plugged straight back into the lineup, but it’s more likely that Barkley rotates in. RLC should not be rushed given the recurring nature of his injuries. The departure of Fàbregas does leave Sarri with a tough decision, as there are two Premier League games coming up in the next seven days and neither Jorginho nor Kanté should be playing four times in ten days. (Ed.note: could desperate times have us reaching for Drinkwater?)
Everybody wants to see Gonzalo Higuaín be involved as soon as possible but while Callum Hudson-Odoi simply has to start this one — transfer request or no transfer request.
Caballero | Alonso, Ampadu, Rüdiger, Zappacosta | Loftus-Cheek, Drinkwater, Kovačić | Willian, Higuaín, Hudson-Odoi
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
Typical of a cup game, the WAGNH community’s preferred lineup involves a lot of rotation though Rüdiger still narrowly edges out Cahill (45%) and David Luiz (35%). Jorginho (42%) and Loftus-Cheek (40%) are rested in midfield while the attacking band of Hazard (24%), Pedro (25%) and Giroud (13%), who all started on Thursday, take a seat on the bench.
Caballero (55%) | Emerson (61%), Ampadu (82%), Rüdiger (56%), Zappacosta (73%) | Barkley (70%), Kovačić (70%), Kanté (49%) | Willian (52%), Higuaín (87%), Hudson-Odoi (90%)
I’m going with an Ampadu and Gary Cahill centre-back pairing as the Chelsea captain is still on the books and we should make use of him. The rest is the same as the community’s overall preference.
Caballero | Alonso, Cahill, Ampadu, Zappacosta | Barkley, Kovačić, Kanté | Willian, Higuaín, Hudson-Odoi
COME ON YOU BLUES!!!