You often hear about “The Magic of the FA Cup” and Chelsea’s next opponent have shown plenty of it this season. Middlesbrough eliminated not only Manchester United but also Tottenham Hotspur on their way to the quarter-finals. So it goes without saying that a full strength lineup will be necessary, especially with an international break around the corner.
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
The traditional goalkeeper rotation for a cup competition sees the WAGNH community swap Édouard Mendy (26%) for Kepa Arrizabalaga. The formation however remains the same as always with the 3-5-2 (11%), for which Thomas Tuchel opted at the start of the game against Lille, remaining unpopular.
With Andreas Christensen ruled out due to injury, the back three pretty much picks itself. Antonio Rüdiger, Trevoh Chalobah and Thiago Silva all start while Malang Sarr moves to left wing-back ahead of Marcos Alonso (40%), Kenedy (32%) and youngster Lewis Hall (17%). Reece James is also out so César Azpilicueta keeps his spot practically unopposed.
While the last round saw the duo of Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Jorginho (38%) get the nod from the community, it’s now Mateo Kovačić’s turn to team up with the Chelsea Academy graduate in the pivot. Saúl Ñíguez is unavailable due to COVID and N’Golo Kanté gets some well-deserved rest. Nobody quite knows what’s going on with Ross Barkley (2%), who collects one fewer vote than youngster Charlie Webster (2%).
It’s a straight swap at centre-forward as record signing Romelu Lukaku replaces Kai Havertz (30%) and will look to get back to scoring ways. Hakim Ziyech and Mason Mount provide support on either side while Christian Pulisic (33%), Timo Werner (52%), and Harvey Vale (11%) provide plenty of support on the bench.
Arrizabalaga (73%) | Rüdiger (82%),Silva (55%), Chalobah (85%) | Sarr (66%), Kovačić (74%), Loftus-Cheek (65%), Azpilicueta (76%) | Mount (55%), Lukaku (76%), Ziyech (71%)