Chelsea return to Premier League football to take on nouveau riche Newcastle, who cannot yet enjoy their riches just yet as the January transfer window is still a couple of months away. But given how trips to St. James’ Park can be tricky, we cannot take the second worst team in the league table for granted.
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
There are few reasons to change a winning tactic, and this game certainly isn’t giving one for the WAGNH Community, with the 3-4-3 way ahead of the 3-5-2 (12%). On the goalkeeper front, the situation is even more lopsided despite the heroics of Kepa (4%) during the penalty shootout on Tuesday against Southampton.
Having gotten well deserved midweek rests, Antonio Rüdiger, Andreas Christensen and Thiago Silva are called back to action. Trevoh Chalobah (29%) and Malang Sarr (2%) were certainly competent against Saints, but we need the veterans this weekend.
Marcos Alonso (9%) rotates out with Ben Chilwell taking over the left flank, but César Azpilicueta (43%) is not able to beat out Reece James on the right. James started on Tuesday as well, though at right-center back instead of wing-back.
In central midfield, Mateo Kovačić (45%) would miss out even if he weren’t injured — voting was held before that news come out — with the community preferring the Jorginho-Kanté pairing. Saúl Ñíguez (8%), Ross Barkley (3%), and Ruben Loftus-Cheek (5%) trail far behind.
Given the injuries to Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner, and Christian Pulisic, deciding who starts up front has become much easier. So once again it’s Kai Havertz as the “false nine” leading the charge — and leading the vote — with Mason Mount and Callum Hudson-Odoi by his side. Hakim Ziyech (12%) has not been overly impressive this season, and the community voting shows.
Mendy (95%) | Rüdiger (95%), Silva (76%), Christensen (68%) | Chilwell (91%), Jorginho (80%), Kanté (72%), James (83%) | Hudson-Odoi (83%), Havertz (97%), Mount (96%)