Two long weeks we had to wait for Chelsea to return to footballing duties and now that wait is finally over. With no more international breaks until the spring, Frank Lampard can fully focus on managing his squad and the packed schedule coming up. First up is a trip to Newcastle for which several key Chelsea players might or might not be fit enough to start.
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
The WAGNH community intend to continue where we left off by overwhelmingly preferring the 4-3-3 (80%) ahead of the other choices, such as the 4-2-3-1 (14%) or the 3-4-3 (5%).
Édouard Mendy in goal should come as no surprise, with the other three goalkeepers barely scratching togehter a combined 3%.
With Thiago Silva (probably) unavailable, the community has picked Antonio Rüdiger as the best of the rest, ahead of Fikayo Tomori (38%) and Andreas Christensen (15%). Ben Chilwell (41%) easily beat out fellow left backs Marcos Alonso (8%) and Emerson (15%), but thanks to his injury scare last weekend, it’s César Azpilicueta and Reece James who end as the favoured pairing at fullback.
It’s as you were in midfield, with the community favouring the trio of Mateo Kovačić, N’Golo Kanté and Mason Mount to start the second game in a row. Though Billy Gilmour should be returning very soon, Jorginho (18%) was the only alternative here. Kai Havertz (13%) would be a certain starter, but he’s only just returned after a two-week quarantine and bout with COVID-19.
Similarly, limited choices up front see Tammy Abraham, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech (who led all players in voting) get another chance to show off and get in the goals, just as they did against Sheffield United before the break. Callum Hudson-Odoi (41%) and Olivier Giroud (12%) did well for their respective national teams recently, but are still not able to displace one of the aforementioned three.
Mendy (97%) | Azpilicueta (50%), Rüdiger (46%), Zouma (98%), James (92%) | Kovačić (81%), Kanté (98%), Mount (80%) | Werner (81%), Abraham (73%), Ziyech (98%)
MY PREFERRED CHOICE
Given the absence of several important players, choosing this starting eleven is pretty straightforward.
In contrast to the community, however, I don’t want to see Rüdiger play ahead of Tomori. I genuinely like Toni as a person, but every time he plays I’m in constant panic mode, waiting for the next big mistake to be made. At least if Fik makes them, he should be able to learn from them, considering his age and stage of development.
I also stayed with Chilly B as I hope him coming off for England was purely precautionary and he’s good to go for us yet again. Otherwise, I made no changes. I did consider starting CHO ahead of Werner to give the latter a breather, but Newcastle are a tricky side and we need our proven goalscorer here.
Mendy | Chilwell, Tomori, Zouma, James | Kovačić, Kanté, Mount | Werner, Abraham, Ziyech