Champions League Draw 2011: Should Chelsea Field Experimental Lineups?
Yesterday's Champions League draw is the beginning of one of the most exciting events in the world. The best clubs in the world are about to compete for what some managers are now calling the most valuable and competitive trophy in world football.
Chelsea's Group E opponents are Valencia, Bayer Leverkusen and Genk—hardly what one could call a "Group of Death."
Valencia just sold their best player to Chelsea in Juan Mata and will have little time to adjust their team and fill the massive hole that losing their talisman has left.
Bayer Leverkusen is a club best known for the "Treble Nightmare" and are only getting back on their feet these past two seasons in an increasingly competitive Bundesliga.
Belgian champions Genk are the new boys to the competition for Chelsea to scout. While the club is vigorous and motivated, they hardly seem to be a team that would strike fear into a team that is considered to be amongst the top five in the world.
With such diminished competition in the early stages, should Chelsea field more experimental lineups?
The stakes are still incredibly high so the pressure for Andre Villas-Boas is still there for him to succeed, but the competition is just light enough that he could begin attempting to re-mold this Chelsea squad into a free-flowing and energetic team that he built at Porto.
Imagine leaving players like Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba on the bench and fielding the likes of Gael Kakuta and Daniel Sturridge to play with Juan Mata. This would be a team so full of pace and unpredictability that the lack of proper training time together would be offset by the sheer power they bring to the table.
AVB could go even further by bringing in Romelu Lukaku, Oriol Romeu and Josh McEachran to have an entirely different outfield that averages under 24!
Such a lineup is one that is often used during the Cup competitions by managers, but for AVB and a Chelsea team trying to reforge its identity, the grand lights of the Champions League could be the time to experiment.
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