It’s been confirmed that as expected, Chelsea will be appealing the red card received by Nemanja Matic in Saturday’s game against Burnley. Although I would love to see it overturned, I am really not holding out any hopes.
With John Obi Mikel his natural successor confirmed still out nursing a knee injury, the remaining options are few and far between. Both Nathan Ake and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are available and have both impressed in the holding role previously, but Mourinho is unlikely to risk youth in such a big game.
Another option that could be risky but is also very capable is Kurt Zouma. He’s played in that role for Chelsea late on to cancel out attacks and hold on to victory but that’s not the first time he’s played there. He’s been placed their a number of times before in France and at youth level and has the playing ability to be affective there. But once again, too much of a risk for Mourinho but another option none the less.
Any of you who follow me on Twitter will know how much I’d like to see Oscar drop in to a deeper role, but this would not be a real option on this particular occasion. I’d like to see him alongside a holding player but I thought I’d give him a mention today just to reiterate my desire to see him play in centre midfield!
Finally and probably the most likely will be a Ramires and Fabregas combination, but this will force the Brazilian to play in a role he’s not overly used to but has played there before and certainly done a job. I’ve never been adverse to him playing a holding role and I genuinely think he can be affective there if he learns the role. Of course he hasn’t the time to do that before Sunday but at the same time, this will be the option and I will be happy with that given the circumstances. He will need to train his brain not to dart forward at every occasion but his work rate, tackling and energy will be hugely important.
We can still hold out some hope that Matic will play however, I’ve also seen a pig fly today …
Simon Phillips – News Editor – @cfcneteditor