One of the biggest challenges of the season await Chelsea in just the second match of the season as we take on Liverpool at Stamford Bridge. Unfortunately, the injury list hasn’t shrunk since Monday and Frank Lampard won’t be able to call on several of our (new) key players. While that might sound damning for our chances today, Liverpool showed some defensive weaknesses last weekend by conceding three goals to newly promoted Leeds United, and we’ll be looking to exploit that.
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
The WAGNH community prefers the 4-2-3-1 over the previously favoured 4-3-3 (35%) and 3-4-3 (15%) for this one. More surprisingly, Kepa Arrizabalaga had survived his howler against Brighton and starts ahead of Willy Caballero (26%).
Marcos Alonso (34%) makes way for Chelsea captain César Azpilicueta at left-back but the community opted for consistency in defense otherwise with Reece James, Kurt Zouma and Andreas Christensen all getting the nod. The uncertainty surrounding Fikayo Tomori (6%) and the inconsistent form of Antonio Rüdiger (24%) leave no other choice, really.
Back from his suspension, Mateo Kovačić immediately returns to the lineup to give Chelsea’s midfield some (relative) steel next to the undroppable (when fit) N’Golo Kanté, Neither Jorginho (19%) nor Ross Barkley (9%) came close to staking a claim.
Chelsea’s attacking band sees blistering pace combined with immense work-rate as Callum Hudson-Odoi replaces Ruben Loftus-Cheek (3%) alongside Mason Mount and Kai Havertz. Meanwhile, up front it’s a nearly unanimous vote for Timo Werner, with Olivier Giroud (28%) and Tammy Abraham (13%) feeding off some scraps from multi-striker proponents.
Arrizabalaga (74%) | Azpilicueta (78%), Zouma (94%), Christensen (77%), James (94%) | Kovačić (90%), Kanté (99%) | Mount (82%), Havertz (90%), Hudson-Odoi (55%) | Werner (99%)
Despite defending him on numerous occasions until the end of last season, I simply cannot see myself including Kepa anymore. I also made a few changes further up the field as I have Mount starting next to Kanté and Kovačić in a 4-3-3 setup. Up front, Giroud makes sense against Liverpool’s physical defenders, with two pacey wingers in Werner and Hudson-Odoi putting pressure on their defenders.
I’m sure eyebrows would be raised at the dropping of Havertz, but I believe easing him in gradually makes more sense than throwing in the deep end like against Brighton. He needs time to acclimatize, get to know his teammates, and so on. I really do value the kid and think he’ll come good in the most exceptional of ways, but there’s no point rushing the 21-year old.
Caballero | Azpilicueta, Zouma, Christensen, James | Mount, Kanté, Kovačić | Werner, Giroud, Hudson-Odoi