It’s the cracker of the weekend as Frank Lampard’s Chelsea take on José Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur in Saturday’s early kick-off. After a highly disappointing defeat against Manchester United and our Champions League tie against Bayern Munich just around the corner, not to mention our minor injury crisis, picking the right starting eleven has never been more crucial.
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
Chelsea played with a back three in the reverse fixture, which made a strong showing in the WAGNH community voting. But the 4-2-3-1 ultimately outpaced both the 4-3-3 (32%) and the long-forgotten 3-4-3 (25%).
In defense, the same back four is preferred once again, with César Azpilicueta, Antonio Rüdiger, Fikayo Tomori, and Reece James all starting. Andreas Christensen’s broken nose will have influenced the proceedings slightly, giving Lampard’s favoured center back just 9% of the vote. Emerson (9%) has no such excuses, while Kurt Zouma (47%) and Marcos Alonso (30%) also miss out with decent showings.
Since N’Golo Kanté is out for several weeks once again, Jorginho and Mateo Kovačić practically pick themselves for the double pivot, ahead of Ross Barkley (25%) and Billy Gilmour (14%). Ruben Loftus-Cheek was not part of the ballot, though he might be on the bench as Lampard revealed yesterday.
Further lack of options in attack sees Willian and Pedro start on the wings for the second match in a row, with Mason Mount playing behind the surprisingly overwhelming winner at center forward, Olivier Giroud. Question marks over the fitness of Tammy Abraham and Callum Hudson-Odoi mean that the pair collect just 19% and 17%, respectively, but still do better than the fully fit Michy Batshuayi (5%), who barely beats out 18-year-old Academy hopeful Armando Broja (3%).
Arrizabalaga (82%) | Azpilicueta (83%), Tomori (65%), Rüdiger (91%), James (94%) | Kovačić (98%), Jorginho (91%) | Willian (93%), Mount (88%), Pedro (35%) | Giroud (78%)
MY PREFERRED LINEUP
I went with the same lineup as the community with the sole exception of Hudson-Odoi starting ahead of Pedro. While Pedro played reasonably well despite all the criticism he’s been receiving (including from myself), I’m hopeful that Callum will be deemed fit enough to start as we can surely need him against a rigid Spurs defense. (Ed.note: Sorry, Jimmy, CHO’s been reportedly ruled out.)
Arrizabalaga | Azpilicueta, Tomori, Rüdiger, James | Kovačić, Jorginho | Willian, Mount, Hudson-Odoi | Giroud
COME ON, YOU BLUES!!!