After an uncharacteristic start to the new campaign, Chelsea find themselves occupying fourth place in the Premier League table. The Blues, who have picked up seven points from three games, have been made to work hard against mostly lesser opposition this season, and it has led to questions of which starting line up the new manager, Andre Villas-Boas, should favour.
Following a busy summer in the transfer market Chelsea have witnessed the arrival of several new faces at the club. However, despite the talent on offer being vast, there still seems to be the problem of identifying the perfectly balanced squad while going forward. With so many good players at the club, an important decision to be made by the young Chelsea manager is whether to implement a rotation system for his large squad, or whether to decide upon a preferred list of first team players?
One problem with a rotational system, as Carlo Ancelotti found out last season, is that team chemistry is often lost, and player understanding can be affected due to the lack of consistent time spent together on the pitch. While on the other hand, a standard first team list leaves several unhappy players occupying the bench to begin contemplating regular football elsewhere. It is a difficult choice for Villas-Boas to make, especially when one considers the player power at Chelsea, as well as the fact the 33-year-old cannot afford to slip up too often at Stamford Bridge.
The manager will now have more options to choose from with Raul Meireles joining the club on deadline day. Also in the last game against Norwich City, Juan Mata linked up fairly well with his fellow Spaniard Fernando Torres, and the duo could well be one of the partnerships eyed by the Portuguese boss. Daniel Sturridge has now completed serving his three match ban and is available for selection in the game against Sunderland as well.
Looking at the performances of Chelsea it would seem the most pressing problem lies in sorting out the line of forwards. Each game so far has seen a different attacking pair or trio start the match, and each time the result has been a hard earned victory or a 0-0 draw. The flamboyant attacks and free scoring nature of the double winning team from two seasons ago seems lost. With the clash against Manchester United fast approaching, the manager will need to sort things out quickly.
Defensively the Blues look solid, although the absence of Petr Cech has left some concerns for Chelsea in goal. But if the manager is able to strike a good balance between attack and defence, it could prove to be only a minor setback, and the Blues could very well make a strong challenge on all fronts this season. The newfound depth and talent on offer at Chelsea would definitely be one reason as to why Andre Villas-Boas can relive what he accomplished at Porto.
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