Chelsea Assets. Big At The Back or The Luxury Attack?

Chelsea Assets. Big At The Back or The Luxury Attack?

Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea side have a mouth-watering run of fixtures from GW7-12. Using the fixture analyser tool on @FantasyFootyFix, we can see Chelsea is ranked (1st) and have the best run of fixtures on paper in this period. A light bulb flickers in my head asking myself should I invest in the “Tuchel Tombola”, and should I go double defence or double attack?

Looking at the first 5 weeks of the season, Chelsea has scored 12 goals and conceded just the 1. They have the (6th) best xG in the league so far with (8.52) according to Opta. In terms of xGC, Chelsea has the (5th) best defence. You’d also have to factor in Chelsea played with 10 men against Liverpool in the second half of GW3 and they also had a heavily rotated side against Aston Villa after the busy international break in GW4. The data may be a bit skewed albeit a small sample size.

Using the Opta stats tab on @FantasyFootyFix, I highlighted who had the most minutes played. What we can see is Antonio Rudiger and Marcos Alonso have started all (5) games this season playing 450 and 446 minutes respectively. Antonio Rudiger may just be the “glue guy” at the back for Chelsea. He rewarded his new owners with a massive 14 points in GW5. This also shows how unpredictable Tuchel can be in terms of the forwards’ selection bar Romelu Lukaku who has started every game in the Premier League since his arrival. It would incline me to go with double Chelsea defence instead of the double attack in the next few weeks. We’ll take a deeper dive into this article finding out who would be the ideal combination.

Let’s start with the attack. Who would I pair with Romelu Lukaku if I did want to go with the double Chelsea attack from GW7 onwards? Timo Werner isn’t really an option right now so for me, thus it’s between two other players. Let’s take a look at some data below :

Kai Havertz vs Mason Mount

Kai Havertz (green) suffered another price drop on Tuesday night and is currently 8.2m. During pre-season, we expected him to play as the “false 9” which made him a tantalising prospect. He hasn’t hit the heights just yet playing as an inside forward in a 3-4-3/3-4-2-1 just yet. However, against Spurs, we saw Tuchel transition into a 3-5-2 in the second half with Havertz playing alongside Lukaku or just in behind. I see that as a positive sign if I wanted to invest in Havertz in the future. An OOP midfielder is the dream. Bryan Mbuemo for Brentford is the perfect example. Mount was the one sacrificed against Spurs. The comparison matrix on @FantasyFootyFix shows us that Mount has played more minutes and has created more chances (5) compared to Havertz who has only created (1) so far. Mount is on corners and most set-pieces so that gives him the extra edge in terms of creativity. Both have fairly similar touches in the opposition’s box and shots at goal, with Havertz scoring against Liverpool.

Looking at the average attacking radar per 90 minutes for Havertz vs Mount on @FantasyFootyFix, we can clearly see Mount is the more creative player, while Havertz is the one with more goal threat. Mount should get more assists whilst Havertz should get more goals.

Romelu Lukaku

This amazing graphic by my good friend Sam @RegretFpl on Twitter shows us the goal threat and assist potential for the forwards from GW1-5. Lukaku has much more to his overall gameplay than just scoring goals. He is a team player and will adapt his style for the team. We saw in Serie A last season he accumulated (24) goals and had (10) assists. He is becoming a complete forward. It does seem like the optimal strategy is to have one premium forward with two budget options unless you’re slightly less risk-averse and prefer the double premium forward strategy with Lukaku and Ronaldo, which has its pros and cons. Something to take into consideration is that Lukaku has faced the top six teams in 3 of his 4 matches and still put up these numbers.

Lukaku would be the first Chelsea player in my team from GW7. Not only is he nailed, but he gives you a premium captaincy option for the next 5 Gameweeks. It can be a set and forget to pick for the armband.

Now, looking at the most predicted points from GW7-12 on @FantasyFootyFix, we can see Romelu Lukaku is only behind Cristiano Ronaldo for predicted points. Interestingly enough, Marcos Alonso is ranked 6th but with a higher uncertainty percentage rate due to the odd rotation. This makes me feel confident enough to have Lukaku in my team and is almost close to being essential during this brilliant run for the blues.

The top 5 Chelsea defensive assets in my opinion:

  • Marcos Alonso: The upside is enormous. It’s his spot to lose now. Chelsea plays Juventus next week on Wednesday in the Champions League before Southampton on Saturday. If he starts against Juventus I can see rotation and Chilwell starting GW7. One to monitor, but he is so hard to ignore and should start this weekend against Manchester City. Another high-risk, high reward pick. Alonso is FPL royalty.
  • Reece James: High ceiling to get big hauls. Rotation will be a natural factor with the competition for places, but I believe he’ll be the longer-term pick that gets most starts.
  • Antonio Rudiger: He will score once in a blue moon which is why I’ve ranked him 3rd. He should be the glue pick of the centre backs in the back three.
  • Cesar Azpilicueta: Chelsea’s skipper should get a fair amount of starts. He is versatile and can play wing-back in certain games. I just think he may be a tad bit expensive when you have Alonso/James who has a much higher upside, not a bad option by any means.
  • Andreas Christensen: Maybe a boring pick as his floor is pretty low. Not a bonus point magnet but for 5.0m to get into the Chelsea backline isn’t the worst pick in my opinion. He only missed one game, which was after the international break after playing all 3 games for Denmark. Make sure you have a decent first sub because rotation can happen with the packed schedules.

Now the question is which combination is best from GW7 onwards:

  • Lukaku, James, Rudiger (double defence)
  • Lukaku, Havertz, Christensen (double attack)

 

If I was planning to wildcard around GW7/8 or build my team accordingly to that week, I would personally go with the triple up and the first option above. I believe at the time of writing this, the Chelsea defence is superior to the attack and will result in more points scored with less risk involved. Lukaku, James and Rudiger would be the three I target for the fixture run.

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