It’s always more fun to write these when it’s a game where there can be some rotation. The results heavily varied, and there were very few players that received an overwhelming amount of votes. Initially, the 3-5-2 formation was in the lead to be selected, but then it was learned that Mehdi Benatia was not called up for this game, and the 4-3-1-2 formation pulled away with some late votes.
In goal, Gianluigi Buffon received three quarters of the votes, and Neto got some increased support with the majority of the remaining votes.
In defense, Dani Alves was opted to be rested in favour for Stephan Lichtsteiner, likely due to Licht not being on the Champions League roster for this round. Leonardo Bonucci and Alex Sandro received their high amount of votes as usual, and Daniele Rugani was also voted into the starting lineup for the first time of the season.
In the midfield, the only real consensus vote was Miralem Pjanic at the trequartista role. A banged up Claudio Marchisio still received 69% of the votes, while Mario Lemina and Sami Khedira were voted into the lineup with ~55% of the votes each.
Up front, it was very clear that this is the game that the community wants to #MakeSomeMoise. Whether it was on the wing, or as a traditional striker, 84% of votes went to the 16 year old. Gonzalo Higuain was also opted for some rest, as 58% voted for Mario Mandzukic in his usual striker spot.
In the everlasting Stefano Sturaro vs. Mario Lemina debate, it was closer than I thought it would be. It seems that there are a decent amount of Sturaro supporters that may not always be as vocal about his support, while Mario Lemina supporters have been voicing their support for him much more often. Lemina did ultimately win the vote with 65%. I voted for Lemina as well.
For my team, I went with a 4-3-3 team with heavy rotation, as I’m a big supporter of rotating against teams lower in the table. In goal, I stuck with Buffon in case we need to be bailed out for anything. In defense, I really am excited to see Daniele Rugani play again, and this is the perfect game to play him. I also picked Leo, Patrice Evra and Stephan Lichtsteiner. In the midfield, I’m not going to sugar-coat it, but it looks kind of ugly. I went with Stefano Sturaro, Hernanes and Mario Lemina. Not exactly our top three choices. Up front, I put Moise Kean on the left wing, Mario Mandzukic in the center, and Juan Cuadrado on the right wing. I don’t think our depth pieces are terrible by any means, and this team should be more than strong enough to get 3 points and save us some fresh legs for Sevilla coming up.
Anthony’s Starting XI (4-3-3): Gianluigi Buffon; Patrice Evra, Daniele Rugani, Leonardo Bonucci, Stephan Lichtsteiner; Stefano Sturaro, Hernanes, Mario Lemina; Moise Kean, Mario Mandzukic, Juan Cuadrado.
BWRAO Starting XI (4-3-1-2): Gianluigi Buffon; Alex Sandro, Daniele Rugani, Leonardo Bonucci, Stephan Lichtsteiner; Mario Lemina, Claudio Marchisio, Sami Khedira; Miralem Pjanic; Moise Kean, Mario Mandzukic.