Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel’s team selection for this evening’s London derby against Arsenal at Stamford Bridge has sparked a reaction from the Blues’ supporters on social media.
The Blues, who enter this evening’s contest looking to secure a fourth straight win in the Premier League, moved one step closer towards securing a top-four finish on Saturday, coming from behind to beat Manchester City 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium.
After falling behind to Raheem Sterling’s first half opener, Chelsea responded in the second half thanks to goals from Hakim Ziyech and Marcos Alonso.
Victory over City did lift Tuchel’s side up into third place, but they were demoted back down to fourth last night following Leicester City’s 2-1 win against a much-changed Manchester United side at Old Trafford.
However, a win for the Blues this evening would see them move back above the Foxes, who they face in the FA Cup final on Saturday, by a single point.
With an FA Cup final and UEFA Champions League final to come, Tuchel has had to manage his side’s workload in recent matches, including at City on Saturday.
Tonight, not surprisingly, Tuchel has opted to rotate his pack again.
Goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, Thiago Silva and Mason Mount have all been named in the starting line-up, as the Blues look to inflict revenge on the Gunners for their 3-1 defeat at the Emirates Stadium on Boxing Day.
As well as Silva and Mount being handed starting berths, Reece James and Christian Pulisic also start this evening.
Chelsea starting line-up: Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta, Silva, Zouma; James, Gilmour, Jorginho, Chilwell; Mount, Pulisic; Havertz. Substitutes: Mendy, Alonso, Emerson, Hudson-Odoi, Livramento, Anjorin, Ziyech, Werner, Giroud.
Following the victory over Pep Guardiola’s side at the weekend, Tuchel has made a total of seven changes to his starting line-up. Kurt Zouma, Ben Chilwell, Kai Havertz, Arrizabalaga, Silva, Jorginho and Mount have come into the side, whilst Edouard Mendy, Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger, N’Golo Kante, Timo Werner, Alonso and Ziyech have dropped out.
Most of the reaction to Tuchel’s selection choice has centred around his decision to leave Kante out of the matchday squad despite his recent outstanding performances.
Below, football.london has taken a closer look at what some Chelsea supporters have had to say on social media in response to Kante’s omission.
Kante has been nothing short of phenomenal in recent weeks, particularly in last Wednesday’s Champions League victory over Real Madrid, as he patrolled the midfield with such quality.
However, you can fully understand Tuchel’s decision to leave him out of the squad as the Blues have a series of big games to come, starting with Saturday’s FA Cup final against Leicester, meaning a rest could be just what the Frenchman needs ahead of the trip to Wembley.
You can follow all of this evening’s action from Stamford Bridge as it unfolds by following our dedicated live matchday blog.