Chelsea are back in action after the weekend’s shocking defeat as a crucial Champions League quarter-final awaits against FC Porto, who will be without two key players due to suspension. Chelsea meanwhile have a full squad to pick from.
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
The first defeat under Tuchel may have been a painful one, but the WAGNH community still firmly believes in the 3-4-3 (76%) ahead of the 4-2-3-1 (13%) and 4-3-3 (8%) formations. Édouard Mendy might have conceded five times on Saturday, but he still easily gets the nod over Kepa Arrizabalaga (6%) once more.
A rotated back-three didn’t work out too well over the weekend, so the community resoundingly reverted back to the usual trio of Andreas Christensen, César Azpilicueta and Antonio Rüdiger, who was especially sorely missed last time out. Thiago Silva (48%), Kurt Zouma (15%) and Marcos Alonso (27%) all drop to the bench while Ben Chilwell and Reece James start at wing-back.
Jorginho profits from Kanté not being fully fit (bench duty, at best, according to the head coach), and therefore he partners with Mateo Kovačić for the second game in a row. Jorginho will surely be looking to make amends after his mistakes proved to be costly against West Brom. Despite all that, Billy Gilmour (15%) didn’t get anywhere near close enough to displace the two older midfielders.
U pfront, the only nailed-on starter is Mason Mount with his 93%. The rest all very close together, with Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech just narrowly beating out Timo Werner (55%), Callum Hudson-Odoi (44%), Olivier Giroud (43%), and Tammy Abraham (13%). Christian Pulisic was expected to be ruled out for this game so he wasn’t given as an option in the voting.
Mendy (93%) | Rüdiger (83%), Christensen (64%), Azpilicueta (78%) | Chilwell (69%), Kovačić (94%), Jorginho (60%), James (72%) | Mount (93%), Havertz (64%), Ziyech (55%)
MY PREFERRED CHOICE
One poor game won’t change my opinion of Jorginho, however, given the costliness of his mistakes and the good news of Kanté passing his fitness test, I feel inclined to go with the pivot which beat Atlético in the last round — it would certainly give us a solid basis.
This Porto team works tirelessly on and off the ball; Chelsea will have to match their grit and effort. That’s why Mount is obviously an auto-include and I also went with Havertz ahead of the other options. Kai has done very well in that department in recent times and I hope he continues to do so here.
Having said that, while Giroud isn’t the paciest and can’t press as hard as a Werner, his knack to score crucial goals when needed might very well prove to be the difference. Having the tall centre-forward impose himself on that Porto defense seems like a good idea in my books.
Mendy | Rüdiger, Christensen, Azpilicueta | Chilwell, Kanté, Kovačić, James | Mount, Giroud, Havertz