After a somewhat disappointing draw against Manchester United, it’s another team from the big six today, as the defending champions host Thomas Tuchel’s Blues. The head coach will be hoping Chelsea finally find our shooting boots.
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
The 3-4-3 train doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon, with fully three-fourths of the WAGNH community on board. The 4-2-3-1 (11%) and the 4-3-3 (8%) are little more than afterthoughts at this point, though still earn a larger share than Kepa Arrizabalaga (3%), with little doubt over Édouard Mendy’s claim on the goalkeeping throne.
Thiago Silva (33%) was always a doubt for this game so the same back three who have done so well recently start once again, with Kurt Zouma (18%) well behind. While Callum Hudson-Odoi (33%) has been declared fit since, the community opted to play it safe by picking Reece James and Ben Chilwell at wing-back, with Marcos Alonso (33%) somewhat close, unlike Emerson (1%).
The pivot of Mateo Kovačić and N’Golo Kanté still seems to lack a certain balance going forward, but they were rock-solid defensively against United. With Liverpool posing a big threat going forward, the community saw the two as the best option again. Jorginho (29%) and Billy Gilmour (6%) therefore miss out yet again.
Mason Mount has been one of Chelsea’s star performers this season so he obviously makes it into the lineup. Tammy Abraham (20%), on the other hand, seems to have not only his fitness but his future hanging in the balance, as he joins Olivier Giroud (24%), Hakim Ziyech (21%) and Kai Havertz (40%) on the bench. This means that Timo Werner leads the line, alongside Christian Pulisic making his return to the starting lineup. (Ed.note: Mount in support of two fast strikers is a look we’ve seen a few times from Tuchel, so this 3-4-3 would most likely be a 3-4-1-2 variation.)
Mendy (94%) | Rüdiger (89%), Christensen (68%), Azpilicueta (78%) | Chilwell (59%), Kovačić (79%), Kanté (80%), James (69%) | Mount (86%) | Pulisic (50%), Werner (83%)
MY PREFERRED CHOICE
Once again I have to laud Antonio Rüdiger, who continues to start and play without any real mistakes. While Christensen also enjoyed a very sound game on Sunday, Toni absolutely bossed it, making some great passes to initiate chances. So, credit where credit’s due!
I’m not sure I saw enough to say Chilwell’s finally turned a corner and is on his way to returning to his form from earlier in the season, but with alternative being that pacy Liverpool attack going up against Alonso, I’ll take my chances with Chilly instead.
Saying Ziyech wasn’t good against United is quite the understatement. He once again seemed alien to the team and that remains one of the major disappointments this season. While Pulisic wasn’t particularly good either, it makes sense to give him the opportunity due to not risking Hudson-Odoi from the start.
The big question for me was who to start down the middle. Werner’s not a lone striker in this system and he (probably) never will be; Abraham’s been carrying a knock and hasn’t been doing too well himself. Giroud? The tall striker struggled against Maguire and Lindelof and things won’t get any easier at Anfield. This was the toughest decision...
Mendy | Rüdiger, Christensen, Azpilicueta | Chilwell, Jorginho, Kovačić, James | Werner, Giroud, Mount