The ‘winter break’ is finally over, the players have recuperated, and we can now get back to footballing business. Chelsea host Manchester United today — still a classic Premier League fixture despite both teams being slightly off the boil lately. This crucial six-pointer may very well prove huge in the context of the season.
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
Despite the team’s inconsistencies this season, the WAGNH community has chosen most, if not all the usual suspects, including a preference for the 4-3-3 formation over the 4-2-3-1 (37%).
Frank Lampard may have played it coy with this choice of goalkeeper for this game, but Kepa Arrizabalaga remains well preferred in goal ahead of veteran backup Willy Caballero (16%).
César Azpilicueta, Antonio Rüdiger, Fikayo Tomori, and Reece James all retain their spots in the back four from the game against Leicester City, with only Andreas Christensen (44%) putting up a fight. Kurt Zouma (19%) remains glued to the bench; Emerson (9%) and Marcos Alonso (12%) clearly out of favour with the fans as well.
Mason Mount (56%) is the one to sit out this game, with the strongest on paper midfield combination of Jorginho, N’Golo Kanté, and Mateo Kovačić quite clearly preferred. Ross Barkley’s (6%) substitute appearance in his last game didn’t do him any favours.
After two weeks of rest, Tammy Abraham should hopefully be fit enough to lead the line. His injury concerns mean more votes for Olivier Giroud (18%) and Michy Batshuayi (12%), with the former beating out the latter as the preferred backup. With Christian Pulisic still injured and Pedro (5%) terribly out of form, there weren’t really any other choices on the wing, with Callum Hudson-Odoi and Willian starting as usual.
Arrizabalaga (83%) | Azpilicueta (88%), Tomori (49%), Rüdiger (95%), James (91%) | Kovačić (81%), Jorginho (74%), Kanté (93%) | Willian (91%), Abraham (69%), Hudson-Odoi (83%)
MY PREFERRED LINEUP
I’m not going to stop advocating for a Tomori and Christensen centre-back partnership, even in a big game like this. We’ve been struggling on almost every set-piece and when opponent run straight at the defenders. These two deserve to be given a chance; it can’t get much worse.
Also, I once again choose Mount ahead of Kanté, as I still firmly believe that he’s the one who makes us click, when he’s on. Hopefully, the two-week rest has re-energized him, as he had been looking very tired.
Arrizabalaga | Azpilicueta, Tomori, Christensen, James | Kovačić, Jorginho, Mount | Willian, Abraham, Hudson-Odoi
COME ON, YOU BLUES!!!