Six wins from six.
What is going on?
But Wednesday’s 4-1 win over West Ham United wasn’t as glossy as it seemed – especially with three players having to go off injured.
The good news is the injuries aren’t looking too serious. The worst of the lot is Jonjoe Kenny, who is set to be out for four weeks with an ankle injury, while it is hoped Allan will be back fit and ready in time for the derby after the international break. Richarlison faces a late fitness test and may even be ready for Brighton & Hove Albion after rolling his ankle.
There are a few other players missing, too. Moise Kean was apparently ill for the game against West Ham and is set to miss out again. Likewise, Anthony Gordon was apparently unwell in midweek, but there’s no word if he’s back and ready in time for the weekend. Andre Gomes also has a knock and will have to miss this one.
Mason Holgate looks set to remain out until November, while there’s no word yet when we can expect to see Jean-Philippe Gbamin again.
So, with a few enforced changes to be made, who will Carlo choose to bring into the side?
Tactics and Formation
Whoever he picks, it’s sure to be a 4-3-3. Although it will be a new (or should that “old”) look midfield, with Gomes and Allan both out.
Starters (likelihood of starting rated out of 10)
Jordan Pickford – 10/10
Seamus Coleman – 10/10
Lucas Digne – 10/10
Michael Keane – 10/10
Yerry Mina - 10/10
Abdoulaye Doucoure – 10/10
Fabian Delph – 7/10
The ideal answer to Allan being out is to put Delph straight into his position. He’s played well in the two League Cup games this season in the same role, but the biggest concern if he is yet fit enough to be able to handle two games in four days. If he’s not, Tom Davies will have to fill the void.
Gylfi Sigurdsson – 8/10
Seems to be Ancelotti’s favoured fourth-choice central midfielder, so he’s the natural choice to replace Andre Gomes on the left of the three. I’d personally like to see Alex Iwobi in this position as he could cause some damage with his direct running, but Carlo sees to only view him as a winger.
Richarlison – 6/10
Touch and go as to whether he’ll make it through a late fitness test. If he’s not ready, expect Iwobi to slot in on the left.
James Rodriguez – 10/10
Dominic Calvert-Lewin – 10/10
Niels Nkounkou – With Kenny out, Nkounkou should make his first Premier League matchday squad.
Anthony Gordon – If he’s healthy again. If not (or even if Richarlison is ruled out), we may see Yannick Bolasie return to the squad* for the first time since May 2018.
Theo Walcott – In from the cold.
Editor’s Note - We know Carlo Ancelotti addressed the Yannick Bolasie question during his pre-match press conference today, saying that he will not be a part of the squad long-term. However, with the squad already injury-depleted as it is, it’s not like he’s going to put two goalies on the bench again like he did at the end of the season. Unless he wants to draft in Ellis Simms, we would be on board with that.