It’s derby time as Chelsea take on Tottenham Hotspur in Round 4 of the Carabao Cup. José Mourinho told the press that he’ll probably have to “skip” the tie as Spurs’ packed schedule leaves him no other choice. Minds tricks or not, Frank Lampard will most probably look to field a more than capable lineup.
But what about the WAGNH community’s preference?
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
It went right down to the wire in the formation department, with the 4-3-3 (42%) just barely getting edged out by the 4-2-3-1 (43%). The three-man defensive setup received very little love at just 8%, even though it worked very well both times against Spurs last season.
In goal, it’s good to see new Chelsea goalkeeper Édouard Mendy given the debut, preferred over both Kepa Arrizabalaga (21%) and Willy Caballero (24%).
The back four sees a complete reshuffle from the weekend. Marcos Alonso (5%) received the fewest votes of any player, and while Thiago Silva (51%) fared better than both Antonio Rüdiger (16%) and Andreas Christensen (15%), he couldn’t quite beat out Kurt Zouma (68%) or Fikayo Tomori (56%). On the flanks, Ben Chilwell doubled up Emerson, 54% to 27%, while on the other side, César Azpilicueta (75%) gives Reece James (42%) a breather.
The midfield is a bit of a mess, with only N’Golo Kanté emerging as a clear choice at 60% and the rest splitting the vote. Mateo Kovačić (52%) didn’t cover himself in glory against West Brom, but still received more votes than Ross Barkley (50%), Jorginho (42%), or Ruben Loftus-Cheek (27%).
Up front, Callum Hudson-Odoi (84%) gets the start after receiving the highest number of votes of all the players, and he’s joined by Timo Werner (69%) and the two ever-presents thus far this season, Kai Havertz (68%) and Mason Mount (60%). That’s a very strong lineup indeed, and one gets the feeling that either Tammy Abraham (41%) or Olivier Giroud (39%) might get the nod instead in some fashion.
Mendy (55%) | Chilwell (54%), Tomori (56%), Zouma (68%), Azpilicueta (75%) | Kanté (60%), Kovačić (52%) | Hudson-Odoi (85%), Havertz (68%), Mount (60%) | Werner (69%)
Mount as one of the double pivot in a 4-2-3-1 should be interesting to see, especially as his tireless work ethic will serve those behind and in front of him well. Also, I can’t wait to see a proper left-back start a game for Chelsea in what feels like forever.
And Mendy needs to start here; throw him straight into the mix and finally give us a commanding giant in our own box who will change our entire game. So, no pressure, Édouard!
Mendy | Chilwell, Tomori, Zouma, Azpilicueta | Mount, Kanté | Werner, Havertz, Hudson-Odoi | Abraham
If I were the manager, we’d undoubtedly be screwed. For example, back when I still played CM/FM, I’d sort my players by recent form and pick those at the bottom for cup matches. That’s not exactly what I’d do here, but I’d pick Marcos Alonso for sure because a) he loves to score against Spurs and b) give him the chance to redeem himself.
Alonso means a three-man defense is needed, fortunately, we’ve got lots of those. Still, Azpi at DCR is necessary. I’d like to see James get a rest, but we don’t really have another good option out there. Victor Moses is “not in the bubble”, alas, but Emerson did cameo as a right winger last week, so maybe he can play right? I say go for it.
I’d like to see Kanté get a rest, too, but again, we don’t really have another good option. Mount as a deeper lying midfielder — the Oscar dream and I don’t mean like DiCaprio’s — would be fun, but not if he’s next to Barkley, who surely deserves a start in this one. So, Kanté it is. Sorry, Kanté’s legs.
Up front, we need to give Havertz and Mount a breather, which should give us the chance to get the combo that I really want to see, Werner and Giroud — that’s no slight on Tammy, who’s been excellent — with someone else on the other flank, let’s say Hudson-Odoi. Conte would be proud.
Mendy | Tomori, Zouma, Azpilicueta | Alonso, Kanté, Barkley, Emerson | Werner, Giroud, Hudson-Odoi