Chelsea’s Champions League title-defense is about to begin, and there’s no better way to do that than with a victory at home. The opposition comes in the form of Zenit St. Petersburg, who certainly are no push overs, with the 2020-21 Russian Premier League champions currently sitting atop their domestic league table. Chelsea have a nearly fully fit squad to pick from so some rotation seems possible.
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
The WAGNH community continue to cruise forward with the 3-4-3 though we saw in the last game that variations of the second placed 3-5-2 (19%) can come into play during a game. Kepa Arrizabalaga (30%) was a popular choice to spell Édouard Mendy, but not quite popular enough to earn the start.
Antonio Rüdiger seems to be the only trusted option for the left-center back position, and he’s joined by Andreas Christensen and César Azpilicueta. Thiago Silva (31%) and Trevoh Chalobah (38%) get a rest after excelling at the weekend. Ben Chilwell and vote-leader Reece James return to the starting lineup for Marcos Alonso (13%) and Callum Hudson-Odoi (19%), respectively.
Saúl Ñíguez (29%) drops to the bench after a poor debut performance, which means another vote for the ‘Jovačić’ pivot. With N’Golo Kanté (5%) not being rushed back and therefore ruled out, the community opted to keep the trusty pairing ahead of Ruben Loftus-Cheek (19%), Ross Barkley (5%), and Lewis Baker (1%). Let’s hope they don’t get overworked!
Timo Werner and a returning Mason Mount replace Kai Havertz (37%), and Hakim Ziyech (25%) on either side of Romelu Lukaku, who retains his spot up front. Christian Pulisic was the second prominent absence due to injury.
Mendy (70%) | Rüdiger (71%), Christensen (86%), Azpilicueta (67%) | Chilwell (85%), Jorginho (85%), Kovačić (59%), James (89%) | Werner (71%), Lukaku (71%), Mount (86%)
MY PREFERRED CHOICE
While he had a debut to forget, I feel like this is a good game to try to get Saúl up to speed. Yes, one shouldn’t take a Champions League opener lightly, but we’re talking about an experienced player who’s even played in one of its finals. He needs get used to the team and going up against European competition should go a long way.
Furthermore, Chilwell has to start this one, and I’m glad the community agrees on that. Similar to Saúl, this is a good game to get some minutes in the tank and we really need to make good use of our quality squad depth. I otherwise made the same choices as the community.
COME ON, YOU BLUES!!!
Mendy | Rüdiger, Christensen, Azpilicueta | Chilwell, Saúl, Jorginho, James | Werner, Lukaku, Mount