Date:24th November 2012 at 6:30pm
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Rafael Benitez will take charge of his first game as Chelsea’s interim coach against Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on Sunday and it could see Spanish forward Fernando Torres return to the starting line-up after he was left out against Juventus in the week.

Both John Terry and Frank Lampard will miss the game against the reigning Premier League champions, whilst Daniel Sturridge remains doubtful.

The team I’d pick:

P. Cech (c)

C. Azpilicueta – B. Ivanovic – G. Cahill – A. Cole

J. Mikel – Ramires

Oscar – E. Hazard – J. Mata

F. Torres

Benitez is seen as a disciplinarian and if he’s going to leave someone out or give them a bollocking, it should be none other than David Luiz, who has been woeful in recent matches and when he’s not losing his man, he’s watching them score whilst he’s jogging back slowly from a position he shouldn’t have found himself in the first place. The other lads haven’t shone either, but a bit of organisation, as well as help from those further up the park is what we need and Branislav Ivanovic and Gary Cahill are far more disciplined than the Brazilian.

I enjoy seeing John Obi Mikel move further up the park from time to time, threading a few passes through and getting more involved with attacks, but he’s at his best when he’s barely noticed. Mikel’s primary job should be to control the midfield area and protect the defence. Ramires also has a responsibility to pull his weight defensively and also to press when he is in advanced positions and we loss possession.

Eden Hazard, Juan Mata and Oscar have all looked brilliant when going forward this season and they are amongst the most exciting players to watch in the Premier League but when we don’t have the ball, it’s often only Hazard and the forward that are pressing the opposition in their own half. Oscar has shown that he can do his fair share of defensive work when he had Pirlo in his pocket for most of Juventus’ trip to Stamford Bridge, but didn’t do anything of the sort in Turin. Mata hasn’t done enough recently to help track back and defend high up the pitch either, so it’s something that we’ll have to work on as it’s a little unfair to criticise the defence all the time when they’re being overloaded.

There’s still no alternative and his mate has arrived, so I cannot see an eventuality in which Torres doesn’t start the game unless he suffers an injury. I’m hoping that Benitez can get something out of the forward…I won’t hold my breath, but I’ll hope nonetheless.

Who’d be in your Chelsea XI to play the Citizens on Sunday?


35 responses to “Who’d be in your Chelsea XI to play the Citizens on Sunday?”

  1. olanrewaju says:

    Chelsea need play like falcao or cavani. let use mikel dnt use luiz

  2. Tjam says:

    Never compire yaya tore with mikel and dont 4get that man city partan of playing is diffrient to chelseag. belive me mikel is doing a great job

  3. Marc CFC/BKK says:

    Pretty much my selection but we must consider Moses, better at tackling back and Marin should have a chance but that said; who for with Oscar, required, Mata, first choice on team sheet for forward line and Hazard simply the most likely to be the difference. Reckon Rafa (uurrgghh)will select as you have and bring in one of Marin or Moses if things need shaking up….

  4. foggy says:

    Mikel has been playing better, but is often not having enough protection to the defence and his lack of energy is also a negative. He is physically strong, though and has some goof qualities…

    If you look back at what chelsea had in a few years ago on their midfield:

    Makele – legendary defensive abilities and position awareness, consistent and reliable, always on hand in the presence of danger.

    Essien – world class in his prime dominating the middle of the pitch with his strength, energy and aggression, and offering a goal threat with his runs and occasional thunderbolts.

    Lampard, probably the best goal scoring midfielder in the world at the time, giving the team good intelligent passing, direct longer balls to launch attacks/switch play and his ever present goal threat.

    Ballack with his passing, presence and intelligence and technical ability, as well as goal threat.

    Also, all these guys have that leadership quality, and could take responsibilty and step up when things weren’t going well.

    Now in the centre Chelsea have,

    Mikel – No real stand out qualities other than some decent physical strength to hold players off, some decent short passing, and some mediocre/below-par defensive ability. Zero Goal threat, Little Pace and low energy when things get scrappy and fast-paced.

    Ramires – Fantastic work rate and pace, industriousness and some tenacity but
    still light-weight with scratchy distribution. Does provide an option going forward with good runs also and scores a few goals, but still his poor passing, positional weakness and his slight stature stop him from being at the top level.

    Romeu – still young and inexperienced. Showed promising signs early on, but has been poor.

    • foggy says:

      If Mikel could improve the range of his passing and hit some penetrating or longer, diagonal balls, it would really help the team a lot.

      But Chelsea can do better than Mikel and find a player who has genuine DM or CM qualities which are at the highest level.

      Something the no doubt well paid scouts should be doing…