Jumaat, 2 Disember 2011

Suggested current best Chelsea XI

The goalkeeper

Ross Turnbull may have saved Andy Carroll’s penalty in midweek but in truth he is a long way away from challenging to be Chelsea’s No.1 goalkeeper. Henrique Hilario provides experience and cover – nothing more, nothing less.

Thibaut Courtois is a shot stopper with a big future ahead of him, but the Blues clearly see him as a man for the years ahead rather than the present after they instantly loaned him out to Atletico Madrid having secured his services in the summer.

All that means Petr Cech has to be the man in between the sticks in west London. Despite the fact he is currently enduring an indifferent spell of form and has not been at the same levels he initially showed in the Premier League for quite some time now, the Czech remains by far their best option.

Villas-Boas will be hoping that the 29-year-old, who is now enjoying his eighth season with the club, can get back to his best to play his part in halting the alarmingly high number of goals being conceded this season.

The defence

John Terry and Ashley Cole are Chelsea’s most senior defenders and the manager would be unwise to cast them to one side when he needs them most. Cole is a consistent performer for club and country, while it would be typical of the captain to produce some top performances when the critics are circling, even if his physical prowess does seem to be fading.

Alex was strangely marginalised for much of the early season, but his chance may now have gone after bad performances against Bayer Leverkusen and Liverpool. Branislav Ivanovic is a good option at either right-back or in the centre, but too often this season he has been underwhelming.

It may be time to keep the faith with David Luiz, who is capable of producing either brilliance or calamity at any given moment. Despite his erratic tendencies, there could be a top defender waiting to emerge once the rough edges have been polished.

Jose Bosingwa, when on form, can provide the perfect blend of defensive solidity and attacking thrust down the right, but he has been inconsistent since returning from long-term injury. Villas-Boas will hope his compatriot can return to the great displays of his early days at Stamford Bridge. Ryan Bertrand and Paulo Ferreira provide cover in the full-back areas.

The midfield

In holding midfield, John Obi Mikel continues to be the Blues’ preferred selection but in too many big games in recent years he has not performed up to the standard expected of a regular in a title-challenging side. While he has some talent, the 24-year-old lacks the core positional and tackling skills required to be considered an automatic selection.

The best man for the role, Michael Essien, is currently out with another long-term injury and Luiz remains only a wildcard option for the position. Oriol Romeu, the summer signing from Barcelona, has made an impressive start at Stamford Bridge when given the opportunity, showing remarkable composure, positional sense and ability to begin passing moves from deep.

While it may be not be ideal to be play the starlet regularly, it is a risk Villas-Boas has to take due to the club’s poor form and one that may pay dividends in the long-term as he looks to bring youth into an ageing side.

Ramires’ energy and box-to-box ability makes him a sure-fire pick in central midfield as he continues to grow into Premier League life, while Lampard’s experience, commitment and ability to pop up with vital goals makes him the ideal partner over Raul Meireles, who has quality but is perhaps a luxury Chelsea cannot currently afford.

Florent Malouda’s powers seem to be fading and McEachran may be best served by a loan move so he can develop with first-team football, meaning Mata is the definite selection in attacking midfield.  While he can also play out wide, a central role gives the impressive Spaniard maximum opportunity to influence the game and pull the strings.

The attack

The future of Drogba may be very much up in the air, but as things stand Chelsea need proven players to stand up and be counted during these vital fixtures, and the Ivorian is certainly that.

While the powerful striker may not be the player of years gone by, he still provides a real threat and a focal point in attack. The goal against Leverkusen could be a positive towards some form.

Undoubtedly, the Blues’ star in attack this season has been Sturridge, even though he has been played out wide – a position he openly admits he would prefer not to be playing in. With his pace and finishing ability, the chance to play alongside Drogba centrally - with the playmaking skills of Mata in behind - could mean even more goals are on the horizon.

All that means Torres has to settle for a place out of the team and fight his way back into the starting XI. The Spaniard has had more than enough chances to recapture some form in a blue shirt and Villas-Boas cannot afford to wait any longer. Nicolas Anelka seems destined for the exit door, while Lukaku will have to be patient for his chance due to the form of Sturridge.


















source: http://www.goal.com/en-gb/news/2896/premier-league/2011/12/02/2782924/andre-villas-boas-still-doesnt-know-but-what-really-is

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