After a famous victory against Manchester City, Chelsea’s chances of making the top-four increased dramatically and a win against Arsenal would all but secure things. Apart from the sporting incentive, it’s always nice to heap more misery on our London rivals; however, with an FA Cup final just three days after, our team selection will have to be carefully considered.
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
As usual, there are no surprises when it comes to the WAGNH community’s favoured formation and goalkeeper. Whether or not the 3-4-3 will continue to be first choice next season remains to be seen, but the 4-2-3-1 (6%) and 4-3-3 (5%) aren’t viable options for now. Édouard Mendy’s later heroics certainly earn him a start in the derby ahead of Kepa Arrizabalaga (17%).
Andreas Christensen’s injury rules him out of the game and consequently sees Antonio Rüdiger, Thiago Silva and Kurt Zouma form the back three. César Azpilicueta (67%) has been phenomenal these past games and deservedly gets a breather here. Marcos Alonso (28%) rotates out for Ben Chilwell on the left while Reece James bombs down the right.
This time it’s N’Golo Kanté’s (51%) turn to sit out a game as Billy Gilmour gets his third start in a row pairing up with Jorginho in midfield. The good news is that Mateo Kovačić (10%) should be back very soon, but this game is still a bit too soon for that.
The front three sees Timo Werner (26%) and Hakim Ziyech (31%) rotate out for Mason Mount and Kai Havertz. The third spot was highly contested between Callum Hudson-Odoi and Christian Pulisic (47%), but the former narrowly edges that contest. Tammy Abraham (19%) and Olivier Giroud (8%) continue to be no more than impact players from the bench, if that.
It should be noted that going just purely by votes, Azpilicueta would’ve gotten the nod ahead of Hudson-Odoi, playing at right wing-back with Reece James playing further forward. But this most likely wouldn’t reflect what the community had in mind.
Mendy (82%) | Rüdiger (83%), Silva (72%), Zouma (70%) | Chilwell (66%), Jorginho (80%), Gilmour (52%), James (82%) | Hudson-Odoi (48%), Havertz (74%), Mount (76%)
MY PREFERRED CHOICE
Resting one of Azpilicueta or Thiago Silva ahead of the weekend certainly makes a ton of sense. However, contrary to the community and given Christensen’s injury, I believe protecting Silva should be the priority. While I trust Kurt Zouma, I’d rather have the experience and calmness of Silva in the middle for a final so I’m taking no risks.
Otherwise, I’m fully on board with the choices made by the community, especially the inclusion of Hudson-Odoi, which makes a ton of sense after his promising cameo against City. Combining on the right with the rampant and unplayable James should give Arsenal nightmares here and I’m counting on them doing exactly that.
Mendy | Rüdiger, Zouma, Azpilicueta | Chilwell, Gilmour, Jorginho, James | Mount, Havertz, Hudson-Odoi