The impossible task of rotating Chelsea’s brilliant squad this term…
Jose Mourinho has a wealth of talent to choose from in his returning year at Stamford Bridge this season…
How he manages to deploy his squad, and keep the multiple stars happy will define how successful Chelsea are.
We analyse how Chelsea could play against smaller teams in the Premier League, and bigger teams in the Premier and Champions League, utilising the many fantastic players at Mourinho’s disposal.
Matches against smaller Premier League opposition:
Chelsea will want to use their brilliant attacking players to full affect to guarantee three points against virtually every side outside the top six.
With Juan Mata, Eden Hazard, Oscar, Andre Schurrle, Kevin De Bruyne, Victor Moses and Willian to choose from in attacking midfield positions, the Blues be expected to have too much firepower for any smaller side.
Here’s how they could line up against the smaller teams:
Cech will start in goal like he will all year. Luiz and Cole will be Mourinho’s stalwarts in defence all season, too. Club captain John Terry is third choice centre-half now, behind Gary Cahill, but the Portuguese boss will be keen to keep Terry very much involved in the first-team squad – and the tough-tackler is more than good enough to start against weaker Premier League sides. As Chelsea would expect to dominate possession and the chance count in these matches, the dynamism of Azpilicueta instead of the ruggedness of Ivanovic would provide a greater attacking option down the right flank.
In midfield, Chelsea have refused to send new signing Marco Van Ginkel on loan, so Mourinho obviously wants to use the player in the first-team. The Dutch midfielder could hone his skills against weaker sides, with the experienced Nigerian Jon Obi-Mikel anchoring him.
In the final third, Mourinho will want his side to be as attacking and ruthless as possible. The skill, dynamism, pace and flair of Hazard, Oscar and Willian will open up weaker Premier League sides at will, and supply chances to Fernando Torres, who is very much a flat-track bully. The Spaniard will score goals against smaller sides, but will be unlikely to start in bigger matches, as the Premier League 0-0 draw with Manchester United proved.