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Now Here`s a Challenge!

Before each and every game, I try to run a mini-competition whereby I ask you to predict the starting line-up.

Now before each game I suspect you might just take into account the players that are not available, either through injury or suspension.

I`m also, in my role as editor, party to all the comments you leave relating to liking and disliking players and certain combinations.

So here`s the ultimate challenge for you!

With everybody in the current squad fit and available name your starting eleven.

Use your social login to comment on front page articles. Login using you Facebook, Twitter, Google or LinkedIn accounts and have your say!

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: Merlin Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday March 4 2013

Time: 4:37PM

Your Comments

Cech,azpi,iva,terry,cole,luiz,rami,oscar,mata,hazard,ba 4-5-1
(GK) Cech-,(RB) Azpi- (CB) Cahill-(CB) JT-(LB) Cole, (DM) Mikel- (AM) Lampard- (CAM) Oscar,-(RW) -Mata, (LW)-Hazard (CF) -Ba. Formation (4-1-2-3)
Cech Azpi-Terry-Luiz-Cole Romeu-Rami Mata-Oscar-Hazard Ba.
4-1-2-3: {Cole, Luiz, JT, Azpi}, {Mikel, Ramires, Oscar}, Mata and Hazard wide with Ba in CF.
Azpi has really won a lot of Chelsea fans with his performances.
@kakufrank, I'd go the same but I'd be tempted to put Cahill at the back and Luiz in midfield for Mikel as he's more of a forward thinking player and can cover when needed. But either 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3
Sorry 4-1-2-3 not 4-2-3-1
GK:Cech, RB:Azpi, CB:Cahill, CB:Ivanovic, LB: Cole, DM: Mikel, DM: Ramires, RW: Mata, CAM: Oscar, LW: Hazard, CF: Ba. Its difficult leaving lampard and luiz out of my lineup but ivanovic and ramires really deserve to start ahead of them to give the team a better balance cos of the MAZACAR ahead of them. And ivanovic/cahill partnership have been our best centre-back pairing this season.
Chelz Akamz
Everything else being equal i would go with the following starting 11 to line up in a 4-3-3; Cech, Cesar, Cole, JT, Cahill, Oscar, Mikel, Ramires, Mata, Hazard and Ba.
Cole, Luiz, JT, Azpi, Mikel, Ramires, Oscar, Mata, Hazard, Ba. With Jose as coach :-)
Sorry, Cahill not Luiz!
And it helps if you pick eleven, so add Messi in there :-)
Cech, Azpi, Cahill, JT, Cole, Mikel, Ramires, Moses, Mata, Hazard, BA
Cech, Azpi, Cahill, JT, Cole, Mikel, Ramires, Moses, Mata, Hazard, BA
4-3-3 for me Cech, Iva (RB), JT, Luiz, Cole... Ramires, Mikel (CDM), Oscar... Mata, Ba, Hazard
(GK) Cech-,(RB) Azpi- (CB) Cahill-(CB) JT-(LB) Cole, (DM) Mikel- (CM)rammy (CAM) Oscar,-(RW) Hazard, (LW)-Moses (CF) -Ba. Formation (4-3-3)
@Desmond, just wondering what are you reasons for omitting Mata for Moses?
cech-azpi-iva-terry-cole. luiz-lampard.-mazacar.BA. that is our best XI.
4-3-2-1 form Cech/ azpi,luiz,terry,cole / romeu,Oscar,ramires / hazard,mata. / Ba /
@desmon moses b 4 hazard ???? common guy change ur idea b 4 some laf at u.
any good manager will bench moses bcos he is too slow n hope he learn to be a dangerouse winger , i like him very much.
Cech, Azpi, JT, Cahill, Cole, Luiz, Oscar, Hazard, Mata, Moses, Ba. 4-2-3-1. I would have preferred a 4-3-3 formation of Cech, Azpi, JT, Cahill, Cole, Luiz, Ramires, Oscar, Hazard, Mata, Ba... but the problem with that is I don't think sticking Mata to the wing is good for him, he doesn't have the pace and strength to excel playing as a winger, and for now, I can't imagine a Chelsea line up without Mata included... Based on this, I'll go with the first line up and formation....
Christmas tree formation-Cech,Iva,Luiz,Terry,Cole,Mikel,Oscar,Lampard,Hazard,Mata,Ba.
Cech-Azpi-Cahill-Luiz-Cole-Ramires-Mikel- Mata-Oscar-Hazard-Ba
sry...forget to add formation will be 4-3-3...Mikel as DM, Ramires, Oscar as BBM and Mata, Hazard to flang Ba
If I consider Romeu, then I will replace Mikel with Romeu (Romeu is much better in lone DM position than Mikel). Mikel is better in double pivot than Romeu.
----------------------------------Cech------------------------------------------ Dave--------------Cahill-------------------------Luiz---------------------Cole -------------------------Romeu------------Ramy------------------------------ Mata-------------------------------Oscar-------------------------------Hazard ---------------------------------------Ba----------------------------------------
^^ totally messed that up lol! i was going for a 4-2-3-1 formation :)
Now that I think about it, that messed up formation might be a good idea with azpi, luiz, ramy and oscar overloading the right side of the pitch and Ash, with his expansive passing, pulling the strings from the center of the park! lol
@the_blues, read the article again mate, then u'll see no reason to question me for the formation. I believe the author wanted us to write our strongest lineup (individually). U wrote urs, that was mine, if u want a break down, I'll galdly give u, @splint, I chose not to include mata because if we are playing a strong team, he hurts us more than do good for us in the middle, his deficiency in the middle will also affect us if I play him on the wings against a solid wing back like ghana's asamoah or man utd's patrice evra, other than his moment of brilliance in the middle which I really love when he "gets" space to operate. Unlike oscar who is stronger than mata, can pass and can shoot too, the midfield is filled with hard tacklers too and we have enough quality in that lineup to hurt any strong team. it was either mata or oscar, but I went with oscar due to my preference for oscar as my ideal no.10
In a 4-3-3 set up,i will go with this line up... : : ..................Cech................. Azpi.....Iva........Terry......Cole \/..............Luiz.................... ....<..\/Ramires.....Oscar........ Mata>........Ba.........Hazard\/ : : : this will my starting eleven with Moses coming on for Hazard later on. And Mikel or Romeu on for Luiz. For those of you wondering how Mata will cope in this set up on the flank,i indicated some key directions of the players. There Mata will regularly invert into the middle while Azpi will engage in incessant foraging of that RW in a steady overlapping runs which will more or less make him a deputy RW. Mata wont need to make much flank runs and crosses and will constantly find himself in c. midfield positions where he can make defense splitting passes. Ramires will occasionally cover for the overlapping Azpi in the RB. And across the other flank,Hazard will seek to hug the touch line and open up spaces for Oscar to find him and Ba. This line up will win us games and make us somewhat impregnable. This is because the mids are capable of high pressing,quick conversion of defense to offense and good range of passing.
Good idea @Ohans, but I feel Mata drifting into the middle will defeat the purpose of a 4-3-3 formation and revert the formation into 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1. Also, to make that plan work, a good level of understanding, discipline and work ethic will be needed in order to close up spaces and keep things balanced. Your idea though should create a lot of chances upfront and may pay off if we are efficient enough in front of goal...
Where are the fecking trolls?Feck you.Lampard is being offered a new deal.Go and hang yourselves now.
^^ lmaoooooooo @cfc250 i hear someone screaming in agony from a distance, must be @mq
Cfc250,check out all the prefered lineups here then u would realise how 'unneeded' lampard is
@Latunvic, i quite admit that Mata's drifting in may alter the 4-3-3 shape (if i got you right),but it doesnt necessary mean a deviation from the intended plan. The purpose for that drifting in between the two positions is mostly to occasionally create space for the overlapping RB. He has the skill set to hold the position and make few dribbles,but to better exploit that area,Azpi will need to make forays forward especially when Mata is in possession of the ball and sort of makes a diagonal movement,carving an opening for Azpi. Mata will not necessarily be static in positioning,if he finds a good space he can take advantage of in the middle based on his sophisticated intelligence,then he makes his move. The shape will remain intact for the greater duration of the game. Like you rightly said,the formation and game plan needs high level of understanding and cordination in the team. But i reckon we have the right crop of place who have finese,fluid movement and intelligence to cope with the complexity of the set up. And i believe when the right shape that makes for strategic positioning is in place,the finishing rate will be high. And when a good number of 'quality' chances are created,the high the tendency of the finishing. Note that there is a diff between quality and quantity of goalscoring chances.
Is he willing to take a backseat??if so,then its ok
@ken: "I'm very understanding of where I'm at in my career. But if I can continue playing for Chelsea and continue contributing here, whether it's starting or as a valuable squad member, then the World Cup is getting a bit nearer." Lamps... i think that answers ur question.
Ken4CFC.You and many others will regret when you see him playing for United next season.Reached 11 goals.Without him,we were fecked all over the place in November.Hodgson is still playing him and he just scored a winner against Brazil.Fergie is ready to take him.Pirlo is ready to play alongside him.I don't know what obssession you guys have with him.He will only play the important games and not every game.
Anyway,give it a rest.These rumours seem to be false.
@blues4eva,i hope he keeps to his words,as u know those are mere words and can be broken if things dont work out in his own way
I think the winner of the United-Madrid clash will win the CL.Hope Madrid tear them apart,but United at Old Trafford will be difficult.Have a feeling Madrid will it on penalties.My prediction is that Van Persie and Ronaldo will score and Van Persie will be sent off in Extra time and the game may get ugly today.
Cfc250,my ultimate obsession lies with cfc.lamps can be needed in the 3lions squad but he is not needed here.with him we we fecked all over the place in january/february.i would have no regret if he joins United as long as we get a better CM.
Yeah, Mata & Mikel will have no place in the team If you want to play the traditional 4-3-3. Even Marin may not do well as he loves cutting in from the Left & when played on the right he becomes crap. Mikel is a better player when played in the Pivot than as a lone DM. Romeu is the best Lone DM we have, I dont think Luiz will do well as a lone DM due to his tendency to push forward, he is better in the Pivot like Mikel when there is someone else to cover for him. Ake should flourish as a lone DM.
Our options for 4-3-3 as it is will be Romeu/Ake(DM) & Lamps, Oscar, Rami(CMs) with Moses-Ba-Hazard upfront.
@CFC250 Lolz, we were crap in November not because we were without Lamps. It was because 1) the Likes of Oscar & Hazard were still adapting to the league 2) We did not have a CF like RVP who would bail us out (like he has been bailing out SirAlex and United even when they play crap) when we needed goals like against Swansea & Liverpool. 3) Because our board sold Raul & Essien and did not buy 2 quality Pivot players to replace them. 4) the only CF that knew how to put the ball @the back of the net(Danny) was injured.
You mean CFC can't survive without Lamps. He is a legend no doubt but If the board get a sound Manager Like Jose, Conte or Manuel P. and get quality midfield players that can keep the ball and spray it like Ikay, Benat, Banega, Witsel e.t.c combined with the likes of Moses, Piazon, Oscar, Hazard & Mata with a genuine goal scoring beast I assure you that you will forget about Lamps in no time.
Lamp cant play forever. The system we play now does not suit him, dont be blinded by his goals. Lamps cannot dominate games from midfield, and I dont blame him cos that is not his style, he played his best footie in the 4-3-3 system where he had a creative mid like Deco alongside him with a destroyer behind like Essien/Ballack/Makalele, all he had to do was play short passes, time his runs and look for spaces in the oppositions box to score goals. Thats Lampard for you. He is not a Pivot player, he is not getting any younger, Oscar, Mata, KDB & Hazard are very good goal scorers and will only get better with time.
Lets i forget he played against,corinthians,mancity(CS and league),newcastle(away),shaktar(a),juve(h),qpr(h & a),swansea(COC h&a) e.t.c and we were still crap and lost most of those games
What most VC members dont know is, the Pivot is key to the 4-2-3-1 system. Dimaria-Ozil-CR7 combo dont have to come deep to collect the ball as Khedira-Alonso will mark hard, collect the ball from the opposition and quickly move it forward to them so they can do their job easilly. Have you seen the strength of Bayern's Pivot??? God!! Their forward 4 dont have to do much defending they just concentrate on attack and attack, no wonder they score plenty goals. At Chelsea, Mata-Hazard-Moses & Oscar have to come so deep to collect the ball as Rami & Lamps cannot release those juicy balls quickly, by the time our front 4 come deep to get the ball the opposition defence would have recovered and come back to their positions of mass defending, leaving our forward 4 with a mountain to climb. That's why our CF's dont get many clear cut chances compared to Carlo's double winning squad where he had Lamps-Ballack-Deco in Midfield and Joe Cole/Anelka-Drogba-Malouda/Kalou, crazy in midfield, solid in defence & explosive in attack, very similar to Bayern's present team.
Romeu is the only player we have that can successfully fulfill the Pivot role of the deeplying playmaker, Mikel can also pass well but he is quiet slow & a deeplying playmaker must transit the ball from defence to attack with speed, that was why Rafa prefered Romeu. He really liked the lad and Romeu was playing with so much confidence until he got injured, he wanted to make another Alonso out of him. I remember his last game against Sunderland before he got injured, he was on fire and was switching the play left & right, he was perfect. I hope he does not turn out to be another Essien as Injuries can destroy a player.
I have high hopes for Ake and Chalobah, they will make fantastic Pivot players, Ake is a typical destroyer in the Pivot duo but the interesting thing about him is his passing is smooth and pin-point, he is an intelligent passer of the ball and reads the game well, he made a lot of vital interceptions against Boro and he is only 18.
I hate to say it but Ramires is probably the poorest midfield passer of the ball in the EPL, our young guns pass the ball far better than him, maybe he should train with them for a week or 2, at least he will keep Malouda company during that period, lol!!
SameX.Lampard has been in magnificent form since returning from injury.Yes,the current Chelsea squad needs Lampard very badly.He may be silent throughout the game but he scores the all important goal.Thats what match-winners like Lampard and Drogba.You have a fair point regarding Oscar,Mata and Hazard.But if it was the question of adapting,RDM too should have been given time.Unforunately,the owner wants immediate success and for him adapting and Chelsea don't exist in the same sentence.Even top players like Sheva and Crespo could not adapt.And what is Roman demanding,Mourinho is the best man for the job.Conte,Pellegrini,etc won't get the time to adapt.And mark my words,the first thing Mourinho will do would be asking the board to extend Lampard's contract and hand him a Giggs/Scholes kind of role,if De Bruyne and Josh flourish.I am sorry mate but if you are expecting Hazard,Mata,Oscar to be given more time to adapt,it won't happen.I 100% agree with you that they should be given time but Roman is bloody impatient.Lampard still has a huge impact on our results,with just a moment of brilliance,despite being silent throughout the game.With the $hit we are in,Mourinho is the best man to get us out of it.
SameX.Problem is we have found the best combo for the pivot.

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