First game of 2022, and the winner of this stays in some sort of title race.
Happy New Year to all as Chelsea’s season continues in 2022. The first game of this month comes against Liverpool as they visit Stamford Bridge on Sunday. This is the first of many tough games this month and a major game in terms of the top three race. At the moment Liverpool sit a point behind Chelsea with a game in hand and 9 points behind Manchester City who lead the league. Liverpool have the same record as Chelsea 12 wins 5 draws and 2 losses although Chelsea have drawn a game more. The season has been an inconsistent one for them and that means that the title race has become a one horse race for now. Recently they lost to Leicester but they had plenty of chances to score goals. With Salah, and Mane heading to AFCON after this game it could be a tough month for Liverpool.
Chelsea go into this game with a bit of a storm around the club. Injuries, COVID, and now Romelu Lukaku’s interview done before Manchester United comes out as he states that he misses Italy and wants to return one day, and that he finds it tough at the moment to adjust to Tuchel. I have spoken a lot of the Lukaku interview on Twitter so my general point of view is that it was extremely poor. It was an unprofessional interview that he organised himself to appease the Inter fans but they didn’t accept his apology and he has angered and broken bridges with the Chelsea fans. Tuchel handled the situation perfectly as he said that the media should ask Lukaku what he was thinking because he has no problem with the player. What should Tuchel do? I have no problem if Tuchel starts him because we pay him a wage to score goals, just keep the relationship professional and use him to win games. If Tuchel drops him I am totally fine with that as well. The one good thing that has happened is that Lukaku has shown that the whole fanbase by and large is behind Tuchel and are adamant we cannot lose him. So amid all of this we drew against Brighton in our last game with another goal in the final minutes of the game. It was frustrating for sure and did not help morale at all. The New Year though hopefully brings renewed fortune.
Chelsea Team Preview
Chelsea will probably start Mendy in goal with this game being his last before heading for AFCON. Werner, and Silva were back in training but Reece James has been ruled out for around 2 months with a torn hamstring. I expect a back three of Chalobah, Silva, and Rudiger. Pulisic should start as the right wing back with Alonso at left wing back while I expect Kante, and Jorginho to start in midfield. Hudson-Odoi, Mount, and Lukaku to start up front. Ziyech, Havertz, Werner etc should all be on the bench but will probably have various levels of fitness. Lukaku for me is just a normal Chelsea player now and he should do his job because that’s the least he can do after giving that train wreck of an interview.
Liverpool Team Preview
Thiago and Minamino are out for this game while Klopp has said that there have been some positive cases in the camp but did not disclose who. We will treat it like he has all the players bar the two available and then what happens happens. Allison will be in goal with a back four of Trent, Matip, Van Dijk, and Tsimikas. Robertson is still serving his ban. Henderson, Fabinho, and Milner should start in midfield with a front three of Mane, Jota, and Salah. That attack speaks for itself with all three being very dangerous while the rest of the team has threat all over the place as well. They have been dodgy though and when they fail to score they don’t seem to score at all.
Starting XI Prediction
It’s a massive game and the reverse fixture was a 1-1 draw which saw Chelsea take the lead and Liverpool equalise via a penalty after Reece James was sent off. Anthony Taylor is the referee and that doesn’t add into Chelsea’s favour. Lukaku needs to score goals and win us games because the only way he can regain the fans support and Chelsea need to use all these narratives to batten down the hatches and work on themselves. It’s up to the players to back Tuchel and make this year a great one for Chelsea, COME ON CHELSEA!!!.