Date: 28th November 2013 at 8:00pm
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If we learned anything from Chelsea’s 1-0 defeat to FC Basel in the Champions League it is that Jose Mourinho needs to shuffle his pack more often and has said this himself, but which stars are set to lose out after the St Jakob-Park stadium fiasco?

There were not many players that could have held their head high following that performance and aside from Petr Cech and Cesar Azpilicueta there is a case for axing any of the remaining nine but I’ve highlighted three areas in which Mourinho may tinker ahead of the Southampton game and future fixtures.


Branislav Ivanovic:

Let’s forget for a moment that the Serbian did not cover himself in glory for Mohamed Salah’s late winner and focus on his general display. Ivanovic has been a mainstay of Mourinho’s plans, is mostly solid in defence, great in the air and challenges for Cech’s long kicks but is limited in many other ways.

When the ball is at his feet he isn’t as useful as Azpilicueta in the same position and can often be caught out by neglecting to defend the space in behind him effectively. A fullback is there to join the attack and provide width as well as defend and Ivanovic doesn’t make the most of the space he has when he’s high up the park.

Frank Lampard:

I’ve said it time and time about Lampard but I think he’s wasted in the role he’s asked to play a lot of the time. As a 35-year-old the England international is in tremendous shape but still doesn’t have the legs that younger members of the squad have and always looks very uncomfortable in a deeper midfield role.

There’s absolutely no reason why Ramires and Lampard should ever be in the same XI and we will get much more from Lamps in situations where he doesn’t have to defend, is in a more advanced role and is well rested enough to do what he does best – score goals. He represents a valuable asset as an impact player but isn’t being utilised in this way. His best games this season have been against Hull, his cameo against Schalke at home and West Ham away.

I don’t doubt his commitment the rest of the time but he was completely lost against Basel – looking knackered – and it was a game he really didn’t have to feature in and probably leaves him a bit jaded for the weekend as a result.



The Brazilian has earned a lot of praise this season for his progression and was a star against West Ham last weekend but against Basel he was probably amongst the worst performers on the pitch.

Oscar only completed 11 passes on Tuesday night – three in his own half – and his only other significant contribution was one tackle, so it wasn’t a good game for the 22-year-old and he could probably do with some rest. He did have a couple of bad games prior to his West Ham performance as well but I think it’s time for Mourinho to realise that perhaps there are many things taking their toll on the young man.

Let’s not forget that Oscar is only a couple of months into his second season at Stamford Bridge but has already played 82 games for the club, is a regular for his country and has clocked up a lot of air miles when travelling for club and country in the summer as well as now. It’s also a lot of pressure to be expecting a 22-year-old to be such a leader in the attack on a consistent basis, so I’d leave him out every now and then over December in order to recharge his batteries.


13 responses to “Three Chelsea stars that should be left out of the XI this weekend”

  1. eddie says:

    Best article ive read this year. Azpil should play every game as hes our most consistant plyr. Mourinho is not doing a great to be fair

  2. RJA says:

    Ramires was far worse than Lampard. Time to “rest” him. Maybe Lampard was tired but when he isn’t he has always done his job – both ways. After few days of rest he should be ok to start but hopefully with Mikel or Essien and nor with Ramires.

    • Anthony Williams says:

      Neither played well and I’ve said that they should never be on the pitch at the same time. Lamps has only played well a few times this season & it’s because he is a) mostly played in a position he isn’t good in and b) he’s played far too often.

    • jeff says:

      Lampard is not good anymore I prefer ramires with essien in the middle then oscar off for mata

  3. Paul Akiga says:

    What Chelsea actually need is a top notch defensive midfielder. Mikel just doesn’t fit the bill. He’s too slow, lacks vision and purpose, and above all contributes too little to the team.

    • Chelsea says:

      Learn to watch football and don’t use your hatred of player to condemn him. Mikel played very well against West Ham and he did well also against Basel. I doubt if there many Dm that would beat him, when he has a good run of games.

  4. bigg jada says:

    Mikel holds dat def mid field well . Lampard shouldnt play full time
    mata should be use

  5. terry lynch says:

    i’m amazed nobody has mentioned that azpiliceuta is a right back keeping out england internationals ashley cole and ryan bertrand at left back. should we not be sloting him in at his true position, right back and give ivan a rest. or play ivan in the middle which is his natural position. i don’t want to tell jose what to do but surely it’s not rocket science!

  6. @Danielofor says:

    Paul akiga. I think you need a reallity check. On that night he was beta than lamps and rami combined. If you are still hating obi. You should be ashamed.

  7. Phrizzy says:

    This article just highlighted what have been saying.Mourinho should look 4 Wanyama.Very good deep midfielder just like Yaya Toure.Bt in mean time return Luiz to his favourite D.M position.He proved better there last season.

  8. SHEARE says:


  9. Bernard says:

    Morinho has to be worried about the lack of clear cut chances from the team
    Lampard should be playing less, Aslicueta needs to add to width in attack Mata needs to be starting some matches and frankly Kelvin is alot better than Willian and Adre when he is in form. His game against Hull is a testimony. Presently most Chelsea goals come from defensive error and that is not good enough