It’s here. It’s finally here.
Chelsea’s biggest and most important game of the season — scratch that, since that fateful day in Munich — is upon us. The stakes couldn’t be any higher. Thomas Tuchel will have to get everything right against a very strong Manchester City side. There’s no margin for error.
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
The WAGNH community certainly made some firm decisions, though that’s to be expected at goalkeeper, with Édouard Mendy (97%) easily ahead of Kepa Arrizabalaga (2%) and for the formation, with the 3-4-3 (69%) nicely ahead of the 3-5-2 (14%) and 4-3-3 (8%).
There was equally little doubt about Antonio Rüdiger, Thiago Silva, César Azpilicueta, Reece James, and Ben Chilwell starting. Whether it’s Azpi or Reece at wing-back is anyone’s guess. Andreas Christensen (37%) came closest to disrupting that quintent, with Kurt Zouma (5%), Marcos Alonso (4%), and Emerson (1%) having to make do with scraps.
While there was also no doubt about N’Golo Kanté starting as he led all non-goalkeepers in voting, but the choice of his partner in the pivot was less clear. In a close race, Mateo Kovačić (51%) just about edged out Jorginho (46%). Billy Gilmour (2%) collected the rest of the votes.
Chelsea Player of the Season Mason Mount is arguably the first name on the team sheet while Timo Werner and Kai Havertz complete the attacking trio. Christian Pulisic (51%) came close; Hakim Ziyech (16%), Callum Hudson-Odoi (5%), Tammy Abraham (3%), and Olivier Giroud (7%) did not.
Mendy (97%) | Rüdiger (97%), Silva (96%), Azpilicueta (74%) | Chilwell (94%), Kovačić (51%), Kanté (97%), James (76%) | Werner (77%), Havertz (64%), Mount (96%)
MY PREFERRED CHOICE
While I’ve defended him more often than not in the past, these last few games haven’t shown the best side of Jorginho, so I felt inclined to agree with dropping him for Kovačić — though he hasn’t exactly been covering himself in glory either since returning from injury.
Otherwise, I couldn’t agree more with the community’s lineup. I’d make the exact same choices. But I desperately want to have James bombing down the wing again, rather than being part of the back-three. While he’s done well there, Azpilicueta just doesn’t do it for me as a wing-back anymore. Back to normal, please.
COME ON, YOU BLUES!!!
Mendy | Rüdiger, Silva, Azpilicueta | Chilwell, Kanté, Kovačić, James | Werner, Havertz, Mount