There were a lot of tired legs before the “winter break”. But the time for rest is over, and it’s time to get back to business, by taking on Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup. Despite the rest, we might want to give a few Academy players a look, as we did against Chesterfield as well.
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
The WAGNH community showed some signs of division when voting for starting formation and goalkeeper. Marcus Betinelli (41%) wasn’t too far behind Kepa Arrizabalaga (58%) in the latter, while the 4-4-2/4-2-2-2 (16%) and the 4-2-3-1 (16%) put up a decent fight against the traditional 3-4-3 (44%) in the former.
A fit again Trevoh Chalobah rejoins the back three alongside Malang Sarr and Andreas Christensen, as Antonio Rüdiger (36%) and Thiago Silva (2%), who only recently returned from international duty, sit this one out. Kenedy marks his return to the team by getting the nod at left wing-back instead of Marcos Alonso (16%) or Lewis Hall (41%) while César Azpilicueta starts on the right ahead of youngster Xavier Simons (17%).
Saúl Ñíguez wants to prove himself, and he gets a chance to do so here alongside Mateo Kovačić in the pivot. Jorginho (32%), N’Golo Kanté (19%) and Ross Barkley (25%) are all back-ups. Ruben Loftus-Cheek is out with injury.
The front three sees Kai Havertz finally start at centre-forward once again after only a handful of games recently. Timo Werner and Callum Hudson-Odoi make up the rest of the trio. Romelu Lukaku (32%), Hakim Ziyech (37%), Harvey Vale (43%), Christian Pulisic (4%), and Mason Mount (34%) don’t quite collect enough votes to displace them.
Arrizabalaga (58%) | Sarr (79%), Chalobah (80%), Christensen (70%) | Kenedy (48%), Kovačić (47%), Saúl (76%), Azpilicueta (58%) | Werner (70%), Havertz (72%), Hudson-Odoi (55%)