Chelsea look to forget the deflating loss against Arsenal by beating Leicester City in this year’s FA Cup final. The Blues have a nearly full squad to pick from and any potential lineup should be expected to be a full strength one. Thomas Tuchel has already confirmed starts for Kepa and Kanté, but did the community make the same choices?
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
We haven’t seen it often since Édouard Mendy joined, but Kepa Arrizabalaga (47%) put up a very good fight, having been the “Cup goalkeeper” all along. However, the WAGNH community doesn’t share Tuchel’s view, with Mendy edging out the race by a handful of percentage points. There’s little doubt about the formation however as the 3-4-3’s nearest competition, the 4-2-3-1, comes in at just 6%.
Kurt Zouma (14%) gets the chop to restore the solidity of Antonio Rüdiger, Thiago Silva and César Azpilicueta in the back-three. Andreas Christensen may be available, but was not included in the polling. The clearly preferred stay the same with Reece James and Ben Chilwell, who easily bests Marcos Alonso (18%) and Emerson (1%).
Mateo Kovačić’s (20%) return is a major boost as he has been sorely missed; however, he isn’t risked by the community — possibly a prudent choice. So the N’Golo Kanté and Jorginho pivot comes back after several games of seeing Billy Gilmour (18%) in the starting lineup.
It’s back to basics for the attacking band as Timo Werner and Mason Mount take up the positions either side of the centre-forward, with Kai Havertz just about edging out Christian Pulisic (49%) to leading the line. Hakim Ziyech (30%) and Callum Hudson-Odoi (9%) didn’t get much love, but still received more than Tammy Abraham (4%) or Olivier Giroud (3%).
Mendy (52%) | Rüdiger (98%), Silva (96%), Azpilicueta (93%) | Chilwell (83%), Jorginho (75%), Kanté (75%), James (88%) | Werner (84%), Havertz (51%), Mount (93%)
MY PREFERRED CHOICE
There is no margin for error here, and while Champions League qualification by way of a top-four finish is crucial, nothing is as important as silverware. You need your strongest current eleven to do the job, and I wholeheartedly agree with the community’s choices. On form, this is our best lineup right now.
If Kovačić hadn’t just returned from injury then we could discuss whether or not his mazy runs could come in handy against a strong and physical, yet not necessarily pacy Leicester midfield. But I’m definitely not in favour of taking any risks which could potentially rule him out of the season defining week ahead.
The choice to start Kepa over Mendy has already been noted by Tuchel during his press conference on Friday and while I understand his thinking in sticking to his ‘cup keeper’, I’d nevertheless favour the one who’s proven to be an absolute rock at the back. This is a final and there’s no room for niceness on these occasions. But I’m not Thomas Tuchel.
Regardless of any differences in selection, let’s just bring the FA Cup home.
COME ON, CHELSEA!!!
Mendy | Rüdiger, Silva, Azpilicueta | Chilwell, Kanté, Jorginho, James | Werner, Havertz, Mount