Chelsea meet Copa Liberatores winners Palmeiras in the final of the FIFA Club World Cup and, despite a lackluster outing in the semi-final, things are looking up. Thomas Tuchel is back, as are a couple returning players, so hopes are high that the Blues secure the missing piece in the trophy cabinet, nine years after failing to do so.
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
While it wasn’t surprising that the WAGNH community stuck to the usual 3-4-3 formation (none of the other options scored higher than 13%), the question of who would start at goalkeeper has been hotly debated. But as it turns, there wasn’t much debate at all in the voting, with Kepa Arrizabalaga earning a supermajority over the returning Édouard Mendy (25%).
With Reece James still out and Kenedy (8%) still yet to see any action under Tuchel, César Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso were the obvious choices at wing-back. The preferred back three also remains unchanged, with Antonio Rüdiger, Andreas Christensen and Thiago Silva getting the nod ahead of Trevoh Chalobah (28%) and Malang Sarr (29%).
Though the midfield seemed a little disjointed after he left the field at half-time against Al Hilal, Jorginho (54%) makes way for N’Golo Kanté, who joins the impressive Mateo Kovačić in the pivot. Saúl Ñíguez (3%) and Ross Barkley (<1%) continue to not factor into the voting.
Hakim Ziyech is currently Chelsea’s most in form attacker, and it’s not even close, and so he joins a fit-again Mason Mount and Kai Havertz, who’s preferred ahead of Romelu Lukaku (62%) despite his crucial goal in the previous game. Christian Pulisic (20%), Timo Werner (29%) and Callum Hudson-Odoi (20%) all remain second choice.
Arrizabalaga (75%) | Rüdiger (99%), Silva (94%), Christensen (50%) | Alonso (56%), Kovačić (81%), Kanté (72%), Azpilicueta (91%) | Mount (69%), Havertz (69%), Ziyech (69%)