Proper football is finally back, though the wait wasn’t long enough to forget about Chelsea’s disappointing draw against Sheffield United. That gives the Blues a chance to make amends, as they take on a dangerous Wolverhampton Wanderers side. Apart from a few of the usual suspects and N’Golo Kanté, Frank Lampard will have most of his squad available.
THE PREDICTED LINEUP
Discussions about team selection might concern nearly every position, but goalkeeper continues to be not one of them. Kepa Arrizabalaga it is!
Emerson’s unfortunate injury on international duty means Marcos Alonso is almost certain to come in for him. Antonio Rüdiger’s return should be a big boost, while captain César Azpilicueta retains his starting position. The big question is whom to pair with Rüdiger, but based on usage so far, it would seem that Kurt Zouma is ahead of Andreas Christensen and Fikayo Tomori in that regard.
Given the circumstances, a midfield trio of Mateo Kovačić, Jorginho and Mason Mount seems the most reasonable choice, even if Ross Barkley did very well for England over the break.
With Pedro deemed fit, he will have to battle it out with Willian for the starting spot next to Tammy Abraham and Christian Pulisic.
Arrizabalaga | Emerson, Rüdiger, Zouma, Azpilicueta (c) | Jorginho, Kovačić, Mount | Pulisic, Abraham, Pedro
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
The WAGNH community made all the expected choices given the injury “crisis”, though the uncertainty surrounding the status of several players saw Kanté picked ahead of Kovačić (30%) before anyone knew any better. Alonso replaced an injured Emerson (35%) and Willian the previously uncertain Pedro (16%), while Rüdiger jumped in for the under-fire Zouma (33%). As far as overall formation, the 4-3-3 just barely beat out the 4-2-3-1 (45%). It’s a fairly minor tactical difference anyway.
Arrizabalaga (99%) | Alonso (64%), Rüdiger (52%), Christensen (83%), Azpilicueta (92%) | Jorginho (90%), Kanté (61%), Mount (93%) | Pulisic (91%), Abraham (93%), Willian (61%)
MY PREFERRED LINEUP
I’m still hopeful that Emerson will be able to play, and am therefore choosing him ahead of Alonso. I also preferred Pedro to Willian, as he’s a much better fit for Lampard’s style of play. Otherwise, I made the same choices as the community at large.
Arrizabalaga | Emerson, Rüdiger, Christensen, Azpilicueta (c) | Jorginho, Kovačić, Mount | Pulisic, Abraham, Pedro
COME ON, YOU BLUES!!!