The hard run of games starts for Chelsea with this clash against Southampton. Saints might not be as good right now as they were a few weeks ago, but underestimating them and the tactical genius of Ralph Hasenhüttl would be a grave mistake. Thomas Tuchel has surprised us with certain team selections recently, but what did the community decide?
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
The WAGNH community certainly made it clear that the 3-4-3 is the preferred choice, to the tune of 80%, with the 4-2-3-1 (10%) the only other formation to reach double digits.
Édouard Mendy might have been dropped for the last game, but the community didn’t see any need to replace him with Kepa Arrizabalaga (9%) yet again.
Thiago Silva (13%) has returned to training this week, but he’s not quite ready to play and thus joins Kurt Zouma (39%) on the bench. Antonio Rüdiger, Andreas Christensen and César Azpilicueta all start and are flanked by wing-backs Reece James and Ben Chilwell. Marcos Alonso (39%) got close; Emerson (1%) did not.
The pivot sees N’Golo Kanté team up with the impeccable Mateo Kovačić, whose recent form makes him one of the first names on the team sheet. Jorginho (48%) misses out by a few percentage points, while Billy Gilmour (12%) remains fourth-choice.
Up front, the usual trio of Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi and leading vote-getter Timo Werner get the nod. Christian Pulisic (48%) and Hakim Ziyech (30%) continue their uphill battle to secure a spot in the lineup — and Pulisic has since been ruled out anyway. Tammy Abraham was assumed injured for the purposes of the vote, while Olivier Giroud (36%) remains an impact player. Kai Havertz (8%) has also returned from injury, though it’s difficult to see how he starts right now.
Mendy (89%) | Rüdiger (81%), Christensen (72%), Azpilicueta (73%) | Chilwell (58%), Kanté (52%), Kovačić (84%), James (61%) | Hudson-Odoi (72%), Werner (92%), Mount (79%)
MY PREFERRED CHOICE
The importance of Jorginho in this setup remains vastly underrated, especially in light of his recent success in the 3-4-3 since Tuchel’s takeover.
Apart from that, I went with the same lineup as the community. A case can certainly be made for starting Alonso, but I understand resting him for the vital clash against Atlético. A fresh Alonso is a good Alonso, and Chilwell is perfectly capable of standing in here.
Mendy | Rüdiger, Christensen, Azpilicueta | Chilwell, Jorginho, Kovačić, James | Hudson-Odoi, Werner, Mount