Win, draw, loss, win, loss, win. Chelsea’s season so far has been inconsistency personified. But we set a marker over the weekend, with the season starting anew following the conclusion of the transfer window, and we can build on that win with another solid performance and three points today, in the first game of the Champions League group stage.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Denis Zakaria both traveled and could be in line for minutes, though they were not available as options for this exercise. Ruben Loftus-Cheek was also left off the voting form unfortunately, having forgotten to add him back in after his hamstring injury turned out to be no big deal. He’s probably due a rest anyway after five consecutive starts.
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
While there is no change in the preferred formation, with the 3-4-3 maintaining a solid majority at over 50%, over three-quarters of respondents have opted for Kepa Arrizabalaga this time around. Kepa may have gotten this nod even without Mendy’s errors of late, but given some of those questionable decisions, the backup is overwhelmingly voted in this time: 78 %to 21%.
Thiago Silva (31%) did not travel, but he was preferred to be rested anyway by the community as well. Wesley Fofana leads all players in voting instead, and he’s joined by Kalidou Koulibaly and Trevoh Chalobah. Ben Chilwell earns a start after his game-changing substitute appearance, with James continuing on the opposite flank.
There are no real surprises elsewhere in the lineup, with the usual midfielders, Jorginho and Mateo Kovačić, and the usual wide-forwards, Raheem Sterling and Mason Mount getting the nod. The people wanted Armando Broja to start last time out as well, and that remains the case still.
Conor Gallagher (50%) and Kai Havertz (47%) lead the rest, including Christian Pulisic (40%), Hakim Ziyech (33%), Céar Azpilicueta (33%), Marc Cucurella (32%), and Carney Chukwuemeka (17%).
Arrizabalaga (78%) | Koulibaly (81%), Chalobah (51%), Fofana (93%) | Chilwell (76%), Jorginho (61%), Kovačić (70%), James (77%) | Sterling (65%), Broja (78%), Mount (60%)