Chelsea FC: The Starting 11 Andre Villas-Boas Must Use Against Manchester City

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentDecember 11, 2011

Chelsea FC: The Starting 11 Andre Villas-Boas Must Use Against Manchester City

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    Going into Chelsea's game against Manchester City, are we talking about André Villas-Boas managing his side to losses against Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool

    No, we're probably all talking about Villas-Boas' feud with Gary Neville.

    The Portuguese manager is deflecting attention away from the team's weak record against solid teams. 

    When his job was on the line against Valencia, he passed with flying colours, now let's see if he can overcome Manchester City—a much sterner test. 

    Here is the starting 11 he must use against Roberto Mancini's men. 

Goalkeeper: Petr Čech

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    In the last three games, Petr Čech has kept three clean sheets in three 3-0 victories. 

    So does this foreshadow a 3-0 win over Manchester City?

    Guess how many penalties Čech has saved this year? 

    Five.

Right Back: José Bosingwa

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    Ironically, André Villas-Boas would love it (we'll know Villas-Boas has lost it when he goes on a Kevin Keegan-esque rant) if José Bosingwa was as competent in defending as Gary Neville was. 

    Bosingwa's last 10 starts have yielded zero clean sheets for Chelsea. 

    With David Luiz suspended, Branislav Ivanović will move to centre back and Bosingwa will start at right back. 

Centre Back: Branislav Ivanović

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    Branislav Ivanović's last Premier League start at centre back was the 5-3 disappointment against Arsenal. 

    In that game, he attempted seven tackles and lost out on four. 

    For me, it's clear as crystal that the Serbian has become a better right back than centre back. 

Centre Back: John Terry

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    Chelsea lead the league in yellow cards, 35 to be exact. John Terry has six of them, four of which were received in the 90th minute and after. 

Left Back: Ashley Cole

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    Ashley Cole kept possession of the ball excellently against Newcastle United, posting a 90 percent success rate.

    He needs to do the same against Manchester City on top of defending well. 

    So that means not turning off late in the game as exemplified against Liverpool. 

Defensive Midfielder: Oriol Romeu

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    Since John Obi Mikel has been frozen out, Oriol Romeu has been dependable.

    I believe the Spaniard can play as a central midfielder and play a more box-to-box role, akin to Sami Khedira's role when he was at Stuttgart. 

    Romeu is more mobile and a stronger tackler than Mikel. 

    That being said, their passing patterns are quite similiar. 

    Hopefully in the future, we'll be seeing more creative and more incisive passing in a deep role. 

    Ideally, Romeu can be Chelsea's version of Andrea Pirlo, albeit a better one, one that can defend. 

Centre Midfielder: Ramires

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    Every time Ramires has scored this season, Chelsea have never lost. 

    Manchester City will be familiar with the Blue Kenyan after he ripped apart their defence with virtually the last play of the game in March. 

Centre Midfielder: Frank Lampard

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    How can Raul Meireles start after having such a lacklustre game against Valencia? 

    Frank Lampard doesn't play like himself and he gets benched. 

    Therefore, if André Villas-Boas is fair, he'll bench Meireles and give Lampard a start. 

Right Forward: Daniel Sturridge

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    Earlier in the week, Roberto Mancini voiced his bemusement as to how someone of  Daniel Sturridge's talent was let go.

    I'm bemused as to why Sturridge continually plays out wide when he generally always cuts it and shoots regardless of who is open. 

    Also, what's with his relationship with Fernando Torres?

    Torres passes Sturridge expecting a 1-2, yet the Englishman, for whatever reason, doesn't pass back.

    You really don't blame Torres for going ballistic at Sturridge. 

    Sturridge needs to work on being more of a team player.

    Aside from that, he's an excellent talent, and I'm happy he's being given a chance. 

Centre Forward: Didier Drogba

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    Supposedly André Villas-Boas scolded Didier Drogba in front of his teammates:

    "You're a fraction of the player you were last season," he said.

    If it is true, which I don't think it is, then well done Villas-Boas, because the Drogba of old showed up against Valencia. 

    Just when you thought he was over the hill, he dominated that game and bullied Víctor Ruiz all over the place. 

Left Forward: Juan Mata

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    Three goals and eight assists in 18 games. 

    Gun. 

    Juan Mata is integral to the Chelsea team and, for the love of God, please play him centrally. 

Tactical Matchup

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    Roberto Mancini has utilised a 4-2-3-1 in 57 percent of his Premier League games. 

    The other main formation he uses is a 4-4-2, which has contributed 21 goals. 

    The 4-2-3-1 is a balanced formation because it gives the defence protection and allows Sergio Agüero to drop deep to act as that creative outlet. 

    David Silva and Samir Nasri cutting in to the centre will be a tactical headache for André Villas-Boas to deal with. 

    The good thing is that Micah Richards is out injured, so Pablo Zabaleta won't have the same attacking output as the Englishman. 

    Chelsea in theory will use a 4-3-3 but it changes to a 4-1-2-3 because Oriol Romeu is forced to sit deep. 

    Minimising Yaya Touré's influence in the midfield can swing the game in Chelsea's favour.  

    What I'm worried about for Chelsea is Agüero and Edin Džeko working in tandem against Chelsea's high line. 

Your Opinion

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    Comment below with your prediction of the result between Chelsea and Manchester City. 

    Who should be in the starting 11 that isn't listed in my article and why?

    Which Manchester City player do you think will pose the biggest threat to Chelsea?

    Please read 5 Things We Learned from El Clasico

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