The stakes couldn’t be higher as Chelsea play Atlético Madrid in the second leg tonight at Stamford Bridge, holding a precious 1-0 away leg lead. The Blues will be missing some key players due to suspensions in Mason Mount and Jorginho which certainly won’t make things easier. By the spirit of 2012!
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
As far as formations go, it was a very clear cut decision here, with 87% of the WAGNH community voting for some form of the 3-4-3. The closest pursuer was the 4-2-3-1 (6%).
Even more clear is Édouard Mendy’s position, with 97%. He made some fantastic saves over the weekend, and might need to do so again as he starts over Kepa Arrizabalga (2%).
Thiago Silva (5%) is still out, yet it’s uncertain at this point whether or not he’d actually replace any one of our currently starting back three. Andreas Christensen, César Azpilicueta and Antonio Rüdiger have been doing exceptionally well and removing any one of them would seem harsh. Kurt Zouma (11%) remains the odd one out.
Due to the aforementioned suspensions, choices in midfield were restricted. The only real option for the pivot was N’Golo Kanté and Mateo Kovačić, with the former collcting more votes than any other player. Billy Gilmour (5%) got a few token votes. At wing-back, Marcos Alonso edges out Ben Chilwell (42%) while Reece James had no competition.
Callum Hudson-Odoi moves further forward this time, starting as one of the three attackers alongside Timo Werner and Kai Havertz. Christian Pulisic (35%) and Hakim Ziyech (16%) failed to truly impress on Sautrday. Olivier Giroud (57%) came close to starting; Tammy Abraham is still carrying a knock.
Mendy (97%) | Rüdiger (94%), Christensen (95%), Azpilicueta (90%) | Alonso (56%), Kovačić (95%), Kanté (99%), James (80%) | Hudson-Odoi (75%), Havertz (67%), Werner (77%)
MY PREFERRED CHOICE
I picked a near identical starting eleven, but with Giroud starting ahead of Werner, which should be more helpful given Atlético’s usual approach. If Atléti do decide to throw the kitchen sink at Chelsea in the second half, then Werner’s pace will come in handy.
Giroud height and physicality provides us with a vital outlet up front which certainly worked in the first leg. Combining him with Havertz should give Chelsea a nice presence against a tough defense. Add in Hudson-Odoi’s trickery and passing, and James’s crossing from the other side and we should be set. Alonso meanwhile adds a nice bonus on the left, both in attack and in height.
Mendy | Rüdiger, Christensen, Azpilicueta | Alonso, Kanté, Kovačić, James | Hudson-Odoi, Giroud, Havertz