It’s Chelsea vs Manchester United (again) at Wembley this afternoon, playing on an all new semi-artificial surface, which should mean no nasty injuries, and some decent football.
The Wembley directors have said yesso to Desso, in adopting the half grass, half synthetic solution to try and solve their ongoing pitch woes.
With the system in place at many Premier League clubs such as City, Arsenal and Liverpool, amongst others, here’s hoping it’s finally an end to the terrible pitches we’ve seen since the stadium opened.
Carlo Ancelotti has already named his side for the match, with Hilario the only change in goal from the line-up that lost to Hamburg mid-week, meaning that Ivanovic keeps his place in the centre of defence alongside Terry. Mikel will take the defensive midfield role, with Essien, Lampard and Malouda providing the attacking impetus through the middle, with Anelka and Kalou up front.
This will give Carlo a lot of flexibility in switching from normal to attacking, and to defensive play. I expect the initial formation to be a diamond 4-4-2 with Mikel at the base, Essien and Malouda right and left and Lampard at it’s tip, interchanging with Malouda.
This is easily changeable to the 4-3-3 that’s served as well as Malouda can push up wide left and either Kalou or Anelka can drop right, leaving a middle three of Lampard, Mikel, Essien. However when we lose the ball, Malouda and either Kalou or Anelka able to drop wide on the wings to make the system a 4-5-1.
With a very strong bench containing Carvalho, Drogba, Zhirkov and more giving even greater options should things not be going our way, and some rising stars looking for playing time and to make their own statement of intent for the season if things are going our way.
With three young players on the bench, Carlo spoke ahead of the game to reiterate the policy of developing from within going forwards; ‘It is the philosophy of the club, I am involved in this philosophy and I agree with this philosophy, I want to bring players up from the Academy.’
He added ‘I have a lot of experience and it is good to work with the young players because you can teach a lot of things. We have to have courage and everyone has to support these young players, maybe we take a risk, we put them in the squad in maybe important games but we have to take this risk.’
Starting XI: Hilario, Ferreira, Ivanovic, Terry, Cole, Essien, Mikel, Lampard, Kalou, Anelka, Malouda.
Subs: Turnbull, Drogba, Carvalho, Benayoun, Zhirkov, Kakuta, Sturridge, Bruma.
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