In this piece, we’ll be lining up Chesterfield’s starting eleven against Chelsea’s to see how the two compare.
Chesterfield will be taking on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, January 8th – details of how to watch the game if you weren’t lucky enough to get a ticket can be found here.
1. Edouard Mendy vs Scott Loach
Arguably the best goalkeeper in the world, Edouard Mendy brought stability to Chelsea between the sticks following their misplaced confidence in Kepa Arrizabalaga. His shot stopping and reflexes are second to none - and with his transfer fee being £22 million, he's one of Chelsea's "cheaper" players. Meanwhile, Scott Loach may not have Mendy's talent, but he certainly trumps him in terms of experience - he's played for an eye-watering 21 different football clubs over the course of his career. He joined Chesterfield on a free transfer after his contract at Barnet expired in 2021.
Photo: Tina Jenner
2. Antonio Rudiger vs Alex Whittle
The physically imposing Rudiger has been enjoying an excellent season for the Blues so far, with his pace allowing them to push higher up the pitch than they normally would. His ability to read the game is also massively understated. He signed from Roma in 2017 for a fee of around £33 million. Alex Whittle is a defensive minded full back who can also function as a left sided centre half and he's been excellent for Chesterfield this year. A boyhood Liverpool fan, he'll be wanting to get one back over Chelsea after they drew 2-2 with the Reds in their last fixture. Again, he came to Chesterfield on a free transfer.
3. Thiago Silva vs Gavin Gunning
What more can be said about Thiago Silva? One of the best centre halves of all time, he's won countless trophies and plaudits over his illustrious career. He's far removed from his prime at 37 years old, but he's proven this season that he still has what it takes to compete at the highest level. To top it all off, Chelsea didn't pay a single penny to sign him. "Mad" Gavin Gunning has a reputation for putting in meaty challenges and generally giving attacking players a rough time - no doubt he'll want the likes of Lukaku and Werner to remember his name. He joined Chesterfield on a free transfer in early 2021.
4. Reece James vs Calvin Miller
Reece James stands out as one of England's best young players, which is saying a lot given the current crop of talent. Defensively strong and with an eye for goal, he's the complete modern fullback. Again, Chelsea paid nothing for him, as he's a product of their academy. Unfortunately, he'll miss the FA Cup third round due to injury. Calvin Miller is likewise a pacey young fullback with plenty of potential in football if he keeps his head down. He can also feature as a winger if called upon. At just 23, he's got plenty of time left as a professional footballer - and he's likely to be fired up on the 8th, given that the 9th is his birthday. Again, Chesterfield got him on a free.