Chelsea might have all the odds stacked against us, but we will want to try to go out with our heads held high against Bayern Munich at the very least. The question is: is it worth taking risks on semi-fit players, or players who may be playing their last games for the club, or should we have a good ol’ academy day in Munich?
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
The WAGNH community decided to go back to our roots and roll with the 4-3-3 formation, just ahead of the recently preferred 3-4-3 (32%) and the long forgotten 4-2-3-1 (20%).
To absolutely no one’s surprise, Willy Caballero gets the nod in goal, with Kepa Arrizabalaga (35%) making himself comfortable on the Chelsea bench ...maybe for the last time, maybe for a long time.
Speaking of last times, this might be Emerson’s farewell game in a Chelsea shirt before moving back to Italy. Then again, Ian Maatsen (21%) was the only other option due to the suspension of Marcos Alonso and the injury to César Azpilicueta. Recent regulars Kurt Zouma and Antonio Rüdiger join Reece James to complete the back four, ahead of Andreas Christensen (50%) and Fikayo Tomori (46%).
A possibly contentious choice is the community’s inclusion of a once again fit, but recently quite injury-prone and just returning N’golo Kanté. Ross Barkley and Mateo Kovačić are the more obvious picks, given the circumstances, but Kanté gets the nod ahead of Ruben Loftus-Cheek (28%) and academy player Lewis Bate (12%).
Given the dire injury situation for Chelsea’s wingers, Callum Hudson-Odoi quite literally had no competition up front and received over 90% for the first time in a while. He’s joined by Mason Mount, who led all players in voting, and Olivier Giroud, who was run fairly close by Tammy Abraham (50%). Meanwhile, even Armando Broja (6%) got more votes than Michy Batshuayi (5%)!
On a side note, a huge congrats to all the academy players who made the cut for this Champions League tie!
Caballero (62%) | Emerson (66%), Zouma (87%), Rüdiger (62%), James (95%) | Kovačić (93%), Kanté (56%), Barkley (64%) | Hudson-Odoi (91%), Giroud (64%), Mount (97%)
I just couldn’t include Kanté or even Loftus-Cheek here as the new season’s already around the corner and we need them healthy for it. While our options are kind of limited in this department too, we shouldn’t gamble on them for an arguably dead rubber game at this point. Call me a pessimist, but I’m simply focusing on the much more vital next season already.
So, instead, we might as well go all Ryan Bertrand on the situation and give Lewis Bate his debut in a Chelsea shirt. Ridiculous? Maybe, but it just might work. Otherwise, I’m in total agreement with the community — well, except my usual preference for Christensen.
Caballero | Emerson, Zouma, Christensen, James | Barkley, Kovačić, Bate | Hudson-Odoi, Giroud, Mount
COME ON, YOU BLUES!