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.
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.
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.