Chelsea’s tight schedule means we will have had barely 72 hours between the final whistle at the Bridge on Sunday and kick-off in Seville today, in what could be a decisive game in the group. Having settled for a goalless draw in the reverse fixture back in October, Lampard will surely want to see Chelsea make up for that with a win and remain top of the group.
However, the big question is, do we rotate (either by choice or by force), do we go into this with full guns blazing?
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
There may be changes elsewhere, but the 4-3-3 (80%) and Édouard Mendy (89%) are unshakeable constants for the WAGNH community these days. The 4-2-3-1 (15%) and 3-4-3 (4%) remain well adrift, and while Kepa Arrizabalaga (9%) did receive more votes than he’s had in the last few games combined, he still gets nowhere near Mendy.
Mendy might be staying, but there’s plenty of rotation ahead of him, with Thiago Silva (44%) dropping to the bench in favor of Antonio Rüdiger and Ben Chilwell (35%) getting a breather as well. Neither Emerson (34%) nor Marcos Alonso (13%) manage to take advantage however as César Azpilicueta slotting in instead. Christensen (18%), Tomori (19%) also remain out of favour.
The rotation trend continues further up the field with Jorginho and Kai Havertz coming in, and N’Golo Kanté (51%) and Mason Mount (35%) making way. Mateo Kovačić completes the midfield three, well ahead of Billy Gilmour, who did collect a solid 22% and is likely to be on the bench.
Speaking of returns, Christian Pulisic gets the nod for the first time in what seems like an eternity, teaming up with Olivier Giroud and Callum Hudson-Odoi in attack. All three of the usual starting trio — Tammy Abraham (12%), Hakim Ziyech (40%) and Timo Werner (21%) — sit this one out for the community (though whether Lampard agrees remains to be seen).
Mendy (90%) | Azpiliuceta (73%), Rüdiger (55%), Zouma (66%), James (44%) | Kovačić (55%), Jorginho (55%), Havertz (85%) | Pulisic (83%), Giroud (72%), Hudson-Odoi (68%)
MY PREFERRED CHOICE
I’m worried about too much rotation, such as in the community’s choice above. While I definitely applaud the idea to start both Havertz and Giroud, I don’t think we should make too many changes. We’d do well to not disturb the squad’s flow.
A few changes should suffice to keep the team’s coherency intact, while giving the likes of Thiago Silva and Timo Werner well deserved rests. I’d like to see Tomori given a shot ahead of Rüdiger, as I have been for quite a while, however, I’m not willing to rush Pulisic back. He’s rather fragile with all his injuries and recent setbacks, so Werner should definitely be rested for Hudson-Odoi instead.
On a side note, I really, reaaaally want to see some of the crosses James made against Spurs land on Giroud’s head. If that happens, we’ll be in cruise control.
Mendy | Chilwell, Tomori, Zouma, James | Kovačić, Kanté, Havertz | Hudson-Odoi, Giroud, Ziyech