A few weeks ago, after the Juventus match, I was calling for John Obi Mikel’s head. At that time, as a season ticket holder and life long Chelsea fan, I had every right. I am also, like many, a very fickle football fan. Emotions run high, too many Mikel mistakes, too cumbersome, not linking the play, the list goes on, but fair play to RDM and Mikel, they have turned it around. Mikel had his best game in a Chelsea shirt, since the Champions League final, against Tottenham on Saturday. Long may it continue.
Mikel should retain his place, in the first eleven, for the first of a double header against Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk. This is a very tricky tie for the current champions and a draw will not be the worst result in the world. Shakhtar play their home games at the 50,000 capacity Donbass Arena. England beat Ukraine here in the Euro finals, so JT and co will have fond memories.
Shakhtar have reached the QF stage once, getting eliminated by Barcelona. They have started this campaign well with a 2-0 home win against minnows Nordsjaelland and a very impressive 1-1 draw at Juventus. Chelsea players have publicly said that they are targeting 6 points from these two matches.
RDM will surely keep faith with his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation. There may be a place in the team for Victor Moses with Oscar dropping to the bench. John Terry will be captain for the night, replacing the ‘free scoring’ Gary Cahill. Apart from that, I cannot see any other changes as Chelsea continue to gather momentum.
RDM cannot put a foot wrong at the moment and long may that continue. He will, however, have to get the balance of attack and defence right and if he does, Chelsea will get a positive result.
After this match, we have a double header against Man Utd; the games are coming thick and fast, so hold tight for another roller-coaster few weeks.