Back at it after an international break that really dragged, the Blues need a quick start.
The season so far has been a constantly fluctuating state of ‘finished’ and ‘hang on we could still get Europe’. The reality is that it’s somewhere in between those conclusions.
We probably won’t get anywhere near the top places in the league, but I don’t think it will be another bottom half finish. We’re coming into a nightmare run of fixtures that will probably make or break the second half of the campaign. We get through with a few points and dignity intact, and then strengthen in January, then who knows what could happen.
If we crumble and end up in the bottom three places come January? Well, then anything could happen.
Marco Silva has a team selection dilemma on his hands again, as he still has not found his strongest XI this season, even putting injuries aside. Players are returning to fitness, and we need to see the exciting players back in the side.
GK - Jordan Pickford
A quiet international break for a change for Jordan.
RB - Djibril Sidibe
Mightily impressive in his showings so far, Djibril Sidibe keeps his place for the foreseeable future.
Based on the small sample size we’ve seen so far, I’d be more than happy if we were to make his move permanent come the summer.
CB - Yerry Mina
Yerry has been our most consistent player this season and has alleviated the Kurt Zouma woes if nothing else. He is looking every bit the big-money signing we made last summer.
CB - Mason Holgate
Mason Holgate is having his surprise breakout right now, and I’m just hoping that the international break was not poorly timed for him.
If he continues his current trajectory, he can finally fulfil his vast potential and become a mainstay in the side.
LB - Lucas Digne
Lucas Digne continues to be elite at his position, and it’s past time for the rest of the team to begin to play to the level he has put in for the last year and a half.
CM - Tom Davies
Tom Davies is still our most important player right now. With the midfield being so depleted, he has stepped up and claimed a starting spot as his own with excellent movement forward on the ball and a level of passing play we haven’t seen from him before.
Long may it last.
CM - Morgan Schneiderlin
Out of necessity, Morgan keeps his place. Not that he has been especially bad, but we sorely miss both Andre Gomes and JP Gbamin, the latter perhaps even more.
RW - Theo Walcott
Theo Walcott, like Mason Holgate before him, is enjoying an unexpected renaissance. I have always been a keen backer of Theo, and while it’s nice to be vindicated somewhat, it’s even better that he is finally getting real support from a fanbase that has been tremendously unfair to him since his arrival.
CAM - Alex Iwobi
Gylfi Sigurdsson simply isn’t the answer anymore, as we look like a far better side all around when Alex Iwobi is running things through the middle.
LW - Richarlison
Richarlison hasn’t lit up the league like many expected this season but that largely has to do with his team being genuinely abhorrent at times.
He can’t win a game on his own every week.
ST - Moise Kean
Just play Moise Kean.
Cenk Tosun isn’t the answer, Dominic Calvert-Lewin is a fantastic impact sub, and Richarlison isn’t a striker.
Moise Kean is the star of the future and is our best option right now. Give him time to grow into the team.