With Pedro ending the season as Chelsea’s starting right winger as the club romped to a 4-1 win and the Europa League title against London rivals Arsenal, you’d expect the Spain international to retain that spot for next season. As well as ending the season there, Pedro was Chelsea’s second highest goal scorer last season with 13 goals, so for him to retain his starting spot make sense.
New manager Frank Lampard is said to prefer a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1 formation when he sets his teams up. With Callum Hudson-Odoi out with a long-term injury, that leaves Willian and Christian Pulisic to battle it out for one starting spot on the left-wing. It is sure to be a fascinating battle, but just who should start on come August 11th against Manchester United in the opening Premier League game?
In my eyes, despite the £57.6m outlay on Pulisic, Willian remains the best option for Chelsea on the left-wing at the beginning of next season. Contrary to popular belief, the Brazilian enjoyed a solid season last campaign scoring eight goals and assisting a further 13. The Brazilian contributed the joint second-most goals overall, alongside Olivier Giroud and only behind the mercurial Eden Hazard.
As well as his solid season, Willian also has an abundance of experience that has seen him win a mass 18 trophies in his career so far. And with Manchester United away as Chelsea’s first game of the season, throwing a 20-year-old, who is yet to play a game in the Premier League, doesn’t seem the smartest decision.
It’s not just the lack of Premier League experience that would hamper the American international if he was to start. Last season, Pulisic endured a stop-start season in the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund, suffering three separate muscle injuries, as well as only scoring seven goals and assisting a further six.
There’s a straight two-way battle for one starting spot, and Willian is the player best-placed to take it. The Brazilian must start as his experience is crucial, especially with such a hard opening game to the season.