Chelsea Hit With Defensive Crisis : Time For Youngsters To Shine

Saura BhattacharjeeAnalyst INovember 16, 2010

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - JANUARY 30:  John Terry of Chelsea looks on with team mate Alex (R) during the Barclays Premier League match between Burnley and Chelsea at Turf Moor on January 30, 2010 in Burnley, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

It is almost like a "bolt from the blue" for the Blues. Carlo Ancelotti's men started their defense of the Premier League in style and were looking favourites again to retain their medals.

But a string of injuries to their top notch players and some poor performances have brought into question the club's depth in squad and ability to tackle crisis like this. With Alex also ruled out for at-least eight weeks(it could be more) and captain John Terry too looking to be on the sidelines for quite a long time Chelsea are now facing a defensive crisis with a string of tough games coming up.

Chelsea had a miserable home outing last weekend. With both of their first choice central defenders missing Ancelotti had to choose the defensive partnership of Ivanovic and Ferreira for guarding the goal. But as the match progressed it came to realization that the two were really not comfortable in that role as they struggled the whole 90 minutes to keep Sunderland's strikers at bay. 

The team choice also brought into question Carlo Ancelotti's team selection methods. The Italian had at the start of the new season cited more usage of Chelsea youngsters as the reason for his lack of transfer market activity. So when the time came it was disappointing to see him have the youngsters benched while the two experienced defenders struggled to control their opponents. His actions contradicted his words.

With latest injury to Alex, it is now four first choice players who are sidelined, the other three being Lampard, Essien and John Terry. Losing four influential players ahead of a series of tough fixtures is no doubt a real crisis. It will be the first real test for Ancelotti at Stamford Bridge since his arrival and Chelsea fans will hope that he passes his exam with flying colours.

The defensive crisis on the other hand is good news for the youngsters as they might get to display their skills on the field and prove their worth to the world. It is expected that the likes of Bruma, Van Aanholt, Kakuta and McEachran will get more first team responsibilities.

This will be the opportunity for the youngsters to impress and make a mark for themselves similar to John Terry. A few sterling match winning performances will also go a long way in ensuring them frequent first team actions.

It remains whether Ancelotti uses these crisis to give his youngsters some experience or stick to his tried and tested methods with the experienced players. If Ancelotti can overcome this crisis comfortably he will earn himself respect at Stamford Bridge even more than Jose Mourinho ever could.

The next few weeks will also test the reputation of Chelsea's promising and talented youngsters. It will be an opportunity for the world to see how much strength they have on their bench. While few more losses could possibly hamper the defending champions' title hopes a superb resurgence would ensure the West Londoners supremacy in the top tier of English football.