After an important win in North London, Chelsea travel much further up north to take on the Premier League’s bottom team, Sheffield United. It’s a must-win as we try to continue the resurgence under Tuchel and stay right on the tail of the top-four. But with just 72 hours between matches, changes might be needed to keep things fresh.
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
The WAGNH community certainly don’t want to change a winning system, with the 3-4-3 garnering almost exactly 80% of the vote, well ahead of other options like the 4-2-3-1 (10%) or the 4-3-3 (7%).
There’s no doubt at the goalkeeping position either, with Édouard Mendy (96%) keeping three clean sheets with one save so far under Tuchel. Kepa Arrizabalaga (2%) doubles up Willy Caballero and Petr Čech for the rest of the votes.
With Thiago Silva injury, the back three drafts in Andreas Christensen, just as he was called upon from the bench on Thursday. With Kurt Zouma also ailing (and Fikayo Tomori out on loan), Antonio Rüdiger and César Azpilicueta get the nod almost by default. At wing-back, Ben Chilwell gets a chance to prove himself as Marcos Alonso (33%) drops to the bench, while Reece James keeps his spot on the other flank.
It was a very close call for central midfield as the effective double-pivot of Mateo Kovačić and Jorginho (54%) gets disbanded, with a returning N’Golo Kanté preferred by a couple percentage points ahead of the latter. Kai Havertz (8%) is another player to have just returned to training, and neither him nor Billy Gilmour (19%) could make much inroads in the voting.
Up top, it’s a similar look to Thursday’s match, but with Christian Pulisic getting the nod ahead of Timo Werner (53%), and playing the wide forward role opposite Callum Hudson-Odoi, with Mason Mount lining up as the false-nine in between. Neither Werner nor Hakim Ziyech (53%) were too far off the pace, but the same can’t be said about Tammy Abraham (32%) or Olivier Giroud (18%).
Mendy (96%) | Rüdiger (96%), Christensen (84%), Azpilicueta (84%) | Chilwell (64%), Kovačić (65%), Kanté (56%), James (66%) | Pulisic (60%), Mount (73%), Hudson-Odoi (67%)
MY PREFERRED CHOICE
The midfield conundrum is a good problem to have as we have a lot of quality in that department. However, I wasn’t too impressed how the substitution of Kovačić affected our last 10 minutes against Spurs. Though I understood the move as he was looking slightly tired, I’m not sure we can afford to break up him and Jorginho right now.
Kanté is still arguably our only world-class player at the moment, but I don’t know if the 3-4-3 can offer him a spot when we play against teams that sit deep and cede complete and utter control of the game to us. Jorginho’s abilities are just too vital and unique to this kind of system.
(NB. I realize I said something different last time around, so I’m eating my own words here.)
And apart from keeping Werner in the team and benching Pulisic, I went with the community’s lineup otherwise. Yes, I’m going to try and stick to Timo until he finally ends his drought, Fernando Torres-style.
Mendy | Rüdiger, Silva, Azpilicueta | Chilwell, Kovačić, Jorginho, James | Hudson-Odoi, Werner, Mount