It’s two consecutive cup games for Chelsea as the Blues host non-league side Chesterfield FC in the third round tie of the FA Cup. The occasion, and the congested schedules, provides a golden opportunity to hold an Academy Day.
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
The WAGNH community give third goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli his club debut with Kepa Arrizabalaga (39%) rotating out of the side. The formation was an intriguing one this time after Chelsea’s four at the back against Spurs, but the 3-4-3 still edges it ahead of the 4-3-3 (20%), the 4-2-3-1 (19%) and the 4-4-2 (10%).
A debut for Xavier Mbuyamba sees him join Malang Sarr, practically a veteran and the overwhelming leader in votes, and Xavier Simons, who played right wing-back against Brentford a few weeks ago for his own debut, but has played in a more central defensive (midfield at least) role for the U23s before. Andreas Christensen (21%) and Antonio Rüdiger (36%), Marcos Alonso (38%) and Cesar Azpilicueta (15%) all get well-deserved breathers, with Lewis Hall and Callum Hudson-Odoi deployed as an intriguing pair of wing-backs (the former earning another debut).
While a midfield duo of Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Saúl Ñíguez didn’t do too well against better opposition in the past, they should be more than enough to get the job done here, with all due respect to Chesterfield. Usual starters Mateo Kovačić (14%) and Jorginho (9%) sit this one out while Lewis Baker (39%) and Charlie Webster (21%) provide cover from the bench.
Timo Werner spearheads the attack — which is likely to happen for Tuchel as well — alongside Harvey Vale and Ross Barkley (who both started against Brentford as well), with Hakim Ziyech (31%), Christian Pulisic (24%) and Romelu Lukaku (18%) getting a rest. Jude Soonsup-Bell (44%) narrowly misses out on a spot in the starting eleven.
Bettinelli (59%) | Sarr (97%), Mbuyamba (76%), Simons (58%) | Hall (48%), Loftus-Cheek (71%), Saúl (78%), Hudson-Odoi (66%) | Barkley (54%), Werner (65%), Vale (66%)