Due to a lack of preseason this year, this match comes at the right moment to offer vital game time and raise the squad’s fitness levels. Gerhard Struber’s side should not to be taken lightly, and they should make for decently competitive opposition for the first appearance of one of our new summer signings!
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
It’s a tight race between the 4-2-3-1 (42%) and the 4-3-3 (45%) currently among the WAGNH community, but it’s the latter formation that wins out this time.
Caballero unsuprisingly starts ahead of Kepa Arrizabalaga (9%), which Frank Lampard already confirmed during his press conference.
The defense sees a completely different back four to the one that started on Sunday as Chelsea captain César Azpilicueta, Fikayo Tomori, Emerson and a debuting Thiago Silva get the nod. With Andreas Christensen suspended, Antonio Rüdiger (47%) still remains benched, while Marcos Alonso (28%), Reece James (33%), and Kurt Zouma (24%) are rested.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ross Barkley rotate into the side as they re-form their partnership just ahead of the always reliable Mateo Kovačić. N’Golo Kanté (28%), Jorginho (42%), and Mason Mount (37%) are all given a deserved break.
Given the lack of options, Kai Havertz starts on the right-wing once again, opposite Callum Hudson-Odoi who’s given a rare chance to impress instead of Timo Werner (29%). The voters also placed their trust in Tammy Abraham ahead of Olivier Giroud (33%), though the decision may be less clear for Lampard.
Caballero (86%) | Emerson (53%), Tomori (70%), Silva (63%), Azpilicueta (83%) | Loftus-Cheek (70%), Kovačić (52%), Barkley (74%) | Hudson-Odoi (91%), Abraham (72%), Havertz (68%)
Even though I don’t think Silva will start the game, I’d like to see him do it anyway next to a Tomori — possibly giving us a little bit of an indication how he’ll be handling the younger players next to him.
Otherwise, I went with the exact same players in the people’s choice, though with the difference of letting Havertz play more centrally and have Barkley help out on the wing. I believe Kai’s strengths lie away from the wings and, due to a lack of options and need of resting certain players, Ross is the only other option.
..unless the fabled Marcos Alonso on the wing experiment is nigh?
Caballero | Emerson, Tomori, Silva, Azpilicueta | Loftus-Cheek, Kovačić, Havertz | Hudson-Odoi, Abraham, Barkley