This year’s traditional Boxing Day game sees Chelsea take on Arsenal in an intriguing London derby. The circumstances couldn’t be more different; one’s in the wider race for the title and the other on the brink of a relegation scrap. However, if history has told us anything then that form goes out the window in these kinds of games.
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
After an important win against West Ham, the WAGNH community have kept trust in known quantities. The faith in the 4-3-3 formation continues, with the 4-2-3-1 (15%), 3-4-3 (6%) and 4-4-2 (3%) all falling well short.
Édouard Mendy kept his 10th clean sheet for the club earlier this week, so Kepa Arrizabalaga (4%) will have to stick to looking at beer bottles while on the bench.
Since both usual starting fullbacks are out with injury, Emerson and César Azpilicueta step in once more, with Marcos Alonso (9%) staying as back-up. Toni Rüdiger (10%), Andreas Christensen (6%) and Fikayo Tomori (5%) had absolutely no chance against the blossoming and magnificent partnership developing between Thiago Silva and Kurt Zouma.
Similarly clear cut were the choices in midfield, with Mateo Kovačić, N’Golo Kanté and Mason Mount all ahead of Billy Gilmour (13%), Jorginho (9%), and Kai Havertz (26%). The latter in particular might benefit from coming off the bench, and being out of the spotlight for a bit.
The attacking band remains the same as on Monday: Olivier Giroud (22%) and a returning Callum Hudson-Odoi (39%) behind the trio of Christian Pulisic, Tammy Abraham and Timo Werner.
Mendy (95%) | Emerson (86%), Silva (93%), Zouma (93%), Azpilicueta (98%) | Kovačić (74%), Kanté (98%), Mount (89%) | Werner (67%), Abraham (63%), Pulisic (95%)
MY PREFERRED CHOICE
While I understand the community’s choice of starting Abraham after he scored an important goal on Monday, I’d nevertheless like to see the potentially deadly combination of Hudson-Odoi, Werner and Pulisic start here as that Arsenal defense is very much there for the taking. Imagining them running the likes of Mustafi or Holding ragged is mildly entertaining, to say the least.
Otherwise, the remaining lineup picks itself given the current injury list.
Mendy | Emerson, Silva, Zouma, Azpilicueta | Mount, Kanté, Kovačić | Hudson-Odoi, Werner, Pulisic