Chelsea will play against Leeds United in the Premier League for the first time in over 16 years and it promises to be quite a tasty fixture. Next to the history between both managers and a return of former Loan Army player Patrick Bamford, Frank Lampard will want to make sure we stay at the top of the table by fielding his strongest lineup and thereby securing the three points.
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
The WAGNH community agreed with this sentiment without a shadow of doubt. Spoiled for choice with a fully fit squad, there wasn’t much debate about any of the starters, or the formation. The 4-3-3 (87%) remains the prevalent choice ahead of anything else, including the 4-2-3-1 (11%), and with good reason given our results since switching to it.
Similarly, having Édouard Mendy start in goal has become as important as anything else for the team, and 98% of the community echoed this. Petr Čech and Kepa Arrizabalaga split most of the remaining 2%.
Anything other than a full-strength back four would have also been a major surprise. Antonio Rüdiger (3%), Andreas Christensen (1%), Emerson (1%) and César Azpilicueta (2%) all certainly held their own in Seville, but the results show just how important Thiago Silva, Kurt Zouma, Reece James, and Ben Chilwell have become.
In midfield, Mason Mount and N’Golo Kanté continue the trend of dominant vote totals, with the latter the third player to receive a whopping 99% — and rightfully so. Mateo Kovačić (41%) drops to the bench for Kai Havertz while Jorginho (3%) and Billy Gilmour (2%) split the remainder.
Perhaps the only non-obvious choice was which center forward to pick, and it’s Olivier Giroud who emerges after his phenomenal display during the week, well ahead of Tammy Abraham (10%). Timo Werner has been a bit wasteful of late, but he’s nevertheless an auto-include, while Hakim Ziyech is given the nod ahead of Christian Pulisic (42%) and Callum Hudson-Odoi (8%).
Mendy (98%) | Chilwell (99%), Silva (99%), Zouma (95%), James (97%) | Mount (84%), Kanté (99%), Havertz (69%) | Werner (82%), Giroud (69%), Ziyech (91%)
MY PREFERRED CHOICE
Handsome devil Olivier Giroud deserves all the praise he’s been getting, and while he’s on the wrong side of 30, he’s aged like a fine wine. Keeping him around in January could be the key to our trophy ambitions this year — thanks to his goal scoring capabilities, though he offers so much more than that to this team as well.
He has to be starting more regularly from now on; he gives us a different dimension. We’re often told that playing time is handed out based on merit, and while I very much believe in Tammy’s ability, it’s Giroud who’s playing to our strengths at the moment.
The rest picks itself.
Mendy | Chilwell, Silva, Zouma, James | Mount, Kanté, Havertz | Werner, Giroud, Ziyech