COS contributor Darren Plant wonders how the Carlo Ancelotti will manage without his two Stamford Bridge defensive stalwarts.
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Last Sunday saw Chelsea fall to their second Premier League defeat in the space of a week at the hands of Sunderland, but the problems lie deeper than a shock result against the Wearsiders.
It has emerged this week that captain John Terry and regular centre-back partner Alex will be missing through injury for the foreseeable future.
Alex has been ruled out for a minimum of six weeks whilst speculation suggests that Terry could be out ‘for months rather than weeks’ with a nerve problem in his leg.
The question on many Chelsea fans lips is who will manager Carlo Ancelotti choose to deputise in the formidable pairing’s absence?
Against Sunderland, he called upon full-back Paolo Ferreira but that backfired catastrophically as Asamoah Gyan and Danny Welbeck were allowed chance after chance and they took it to help their side to an emphatic 3-0 victory.
After that loss, Ferreria should no longer be an option for Ancelotti to partner Branislav Ivanovic. With the greatest respect to Sunderland, if it’s not going to work against them, it will not work against Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur in the coming weeks.
Ancelotti had the opportunity in the summer to bolster his defensive ranks after the departure of Ricardo Carvalho but he chose against it – reasoning that young Dutch defender Jeffrey Bruma would be his fourth-choice central defender.
The time as come for Ancelotti to stand by his decision and draft Bruma into the starting line-up – beginning this Saturday away at Birmingham.
Bruma will no doubt take time to settle. He has earned a senior cap for The Netherlands in a friendly, but starting games for the Premier League champions will take some getting used to.
But if Ancelotti doesn’t place in his trust in him now, he never will. Michael Essien is another candidate that can fill in at centre-back, but you lose his dynamism in midfield if you drop him back.
Maybe that could be a suitable option in the matches against the top teams when he returns from suspension to add a bit of experience, but in the next three games – trips to Birmingham and Newcastle before a home game against Everton – Bruma should be given the chance to shine.
Doubts into Chelsea title challenge have only further been enhanced in these past couple of weeks, but if Ancelotti opts to play players – namely Ferreira – out of position on Saturday against the partnership of Cameron Jerome and Nikola Zigic, Chelsea could soon find themselves off the top of the Premier League for the first time this season.
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