This is it.
Chelsea win this game and we get to play Champions League football again. It won’t be easy against Liverpool. The question is: should we continue with Sunday’s successful strategy of three at the back or revert to a back-four?
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
Given how well the 3-4-3 worked in the FA Cup, it was not surprising to see it preferred by the WAGNH community as well, and by a rather wide margin over the 4-3-3 (31%) and the 4-2-3-1 (7%). (Ed.note: clearly, we don’t remember the last couple times Lampard kept the 3-4-3 for more than a one-off application game.)
Not too many changes otherwise from the community, though Kepa Arrizabalaga does get restored over cup-goalkeeper Willy Caballero (28%).
No changes in defense, with the same back three starting as against Manchester United. Andreas Christensen (17%) remains out of favour; the same goes for Emerson (2%) and the returning from injury Fikayo Tomori (7%).
The one big change is in midfield, with Jorginho (59%) not getting enough votes to partner Mateo Kovačić as on Sunday. With the likes of Barkley (19%) unfavored, Loftus-Cheek (13%) not quite up to speed yet, and both N’Golo Kanté and Billy Gilmour injured, it’s instead Mason Mount who thus drops into a deeper position, making way for Christian Pulisic on the left wing. Lampard choosing to partner Mount with Kovačić would certainly be a bold move.
As mentioned above, Pulisic returns to the lineup after being rested at the weekend and he joins Willian and Olivier Giroud in the attacking trident. None of Callum Hudson-Odoi (10%), Tammy Abraham (8%), Pedro (3%), or Michy Batshuayi (1%) came even close to unseating any of those starters. Talk about a clear-cut result.
Arrizabalaga (72%) | Rüdiger (84%), Zouma (95%), Azpilicueta (98%) | Alonso (72%), Mount (81%), Kovačić (94%), James (86%) | Pulisic (67%), Giroud (91%), Willian (78%)
I’m cautious since we’ve had good performances playing in a 3-4-3 just to be awful in it the next game, but seeing how well the team played, it definitely makes sense to run with it once more. Despite feeling Christensen would be the better choice, I went with the same lineup simply for reasons of consistency. So don’t [FUN] this up, Toni.
Arrizabalaga | Rüdiger, Zouma, Azpilicueta | Alonso, Mount, Kovačić, James | Pulisic, Giroud, Willian
COME ON, YOU BLUES!