Chelsea FC vs. Bolton: AVB's Likely Starting XI Against the Trotters

Vincent GaspariniCorrespondent ISeptember 29, 2011

Chelsea FC vs. Bolton: AVB's Likely Starting XI Against the Trotters

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    This Sunday, Chelsea FC will face off against Bolton Wanderers at the Reebok Stadium.

    After a successful run so far this season, minus the loss at Old Trafford two weeks ago, Andre Villas-Boas and the Blues will be looking to take away another three points from this game.

    The Trotters, however, have had a bumpy start to the season, winning just one Premier League game in six. They currently sit at the bottom of the table at No. 20, and the Blues will be anxious to have a crack at them.

    Let's take a look at a likely starting XI.

GK: Petr Cech

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    A no-brainer. Cech retains his place as the Blues' man between the posts.

    His game against Valencia was solid. He made several amazing saves, and is without a doubt one of the top five goalkeepers in the world.

RB: Jose Bosingwa

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    The Portuguese has seen a revival under his fellow countryman, André Villas-Boas, and is the preferred right-back over Branislav Ivanovic since he took over in July.

    Though his defending skills have been doubted by many, his skills going forward have as much of an impact on the right as Ashley Cole's do on the left.

    He's likely to again be AVB's right-back selection for Sunday.

CB: David Luiz

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    David Luiz has proved a great acquisition since his arrival in this past January transfer window. He's pretty solid defensively, and is great going forward as well. Who could forget the cracker he scored against United last season, seen here?

    And even though he hasn't seen as much first-team action under AVB as he did last year, I think he'll be selected against the struggling Bolton side on Sunday.

CB: John Terry

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    The Blues captain at center-back is almost as automatic a pick as Cech is. He's a constant leader on the pitch, and even at 30, is still a very solid defender.

LB: Ashley Cole

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    Yet another almost-automatic pick is Chelsea's left-back in Ashley Cole. He's one of the best LBs in the world, and is still as sharp as he ever was.

CM: Raul Meireles

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    The last acquisition of the summer has been a good reinforcement to the Chelsea midfield, and AVB is likely to start him against the Trotters. He has been a source of creativity in the midfield, along with Mata on the wing, adding a different dimension to this Chelsea side.

CM: Ramires

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    Ramires is another player who has seen a surge in form under Andre Villas-Boas. He had a rocky start in his first season at Stamford Bridge, despite scoring Chelsea's Goal of the Season last year against Manchester City, which can be seen here. But now that he's adapted to English football, he's quickly turning into an exceptional box-to-box midfielder, and has the potential to become world class.

    He scored a brace last weekend against Swansea, and almost scored again in Chelsea's Champions League game at Valencia. His pace and perseverance are admirable, and he'll certainly figure largely in the future of CFC.

CAM: Frank Lampard

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    Lampard takes a lot of flack from the media and even some fans, but he's still as effective on the pitch as he ever was. In Chelsea's Champions League game against Valencia on Wednesday, Lampard was sharp and alert, creating chances for goals and even scoring one himself. It's no coincidence that the game went downhill after he came on for Kalouless Kalou.

    I believe he'll once again be in AVB's starting XI, but don't expect that to stop the gossip-laden reporting about his future and role at the club.

LW: Juan Mata

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    Each game, Juan Mata is looking more and more like one of the buys of the summer. He adds something to Chelsea's playing that we haven't seen for a while, and is a huge asset on the pitch. He's versatile, being able to play on either wing or as an attacking midfielder, but he'll most likely retain his place on Chelsea's left wing, as he has since the start of the season.

RW: Nicolas Anelka

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    I'm going to go out on a limb and say Nico will get the nod over Daniel Sturridge this week for right winger. With Didier Drogba the likely pick for CF, I believe AVB will see this as an opportunity to link up the two strikers again, after seasons of a prolific partnership.

    And with Daniel Sturridge apparently still recovering from the knock he took in the Carling Cup match last week, I think Anelka is the more likely selection.

CF: Didier Drogba

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    With Fernando Torres sidelined for the next three games after his red card in the game against Swansea last week, Didier Drogba is slated to make his return to the Blues' starting XI against Bolton.

    His age has not diminished his presence and skills on the pitch, and he's still one of the most feared strikers in the Premier League.