Chelsea won’t be able to dwell too much on the disappointing performance against Arsenal as we take on a high-flying Aston Villa a mere two days later. The loss has raised a fair few questions in regard to formation and players being played out of position, so the right reaction and adjustments may very well prove decisive.
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
The WAGNH community agreed with Frank Lampard that a degree of rotation is a must, though the 4-3-3 formation remains the favourite. The 4-2-3-1 (33%) is gradually catching up (the 4-4-2 and 3-4-3 less so with their 7% each). Édouard Mendy, on the other hand, who really couldn’t do much against any of the three goals against Arsenal, keeps his margin over Kepa Arrizabalaga (6%).
Reece James (31%) was clearly not fully fit on Saturday at the Emirates, so he therefore rotates out for César Azpilicueta. Ben Chilwell however retains his place ahead of Emerson (39%). There are no changes at centre-back, with only Toni Rüdiger (37%) coming close to unseating the usual two.
The one midfielder to come away with any kind of positive from the Arsenal loss was arguably N’Golo Kanté and he therefore keeps his place. Mateo Kovačić (37%) did not, and consequently drops out for Kai Havertz. Mason Mount gets to keep his place as well, but Billy Gilmour (45%) gave him a good run for his money. Jorginho (18%) remains an unpopular pick.
Callum Hudson-Odoi was the sole bright spark against Arsenal and deservedly gets his chance to start fulfilling his immense potential, linking up with Christian Pulisic on the other wing and Olivier Giroud down the middle. Tammy Abraham (25%) gets a breather; Timo Werner (32%) might need a bit longer than that to get his head straight.
Mendy (90%) | Chilwell (58%), Silva (61%), Zouma (80%), Azpilicueta (71%) | Mount (61%), Kanté (80%), Havertz (59%) | Hudson-Odoi (88%), Giroud (52%), Pulisic (86%)
MY PREFERRED CHOICE
With only two days elapsing since our last fixture, some rotation was always going to be necessary, regardless of that dreadful performance. This game should be seen as an opportunity for the fringe players to fight for a starting spot on merit; something that’s not always been the case of late (right, Timo?).
I believe this game would be perfect to hand a start to Billy Gilmour. He’ll surely be up for it, is fresh and probably has quite a bit more fighting spirit and confidence in him than Havertz at this moment. Needing an instant reaction, Billy’s grit could come in handy against a robust Villa midfield.
Hudson-Odoi seemed like the only one capable of producing anything against Arsenal and emphasized our need for starting actual wingers. A few of those juicy crosses to Giroud could not only revive their glorious Europa League link-ups from the past, but also Chelsea’s aspirations of staying close to the top of the Premier League.
Mendy | Chilwell, Silva, Zouma, Azpilicueta | Mount, Kanté, Gilmour | Hudson-Odoi, Giroud, Pulisic