AFCON and how it affects Chelsea

AFCON and how it affects Chelsea

The AFCON or African Cup of nations is just around the corner, with big names battling out to win the top prize with their countries.

For Chelsea at the moment, we have two players who are eligible to play for their country and that is Nigeria. The will miss the following fixtures –
  • Chelsea FC vs Arsenal FC
  • Reading FC vs Chelsea FC
  • Newcastle United vs Chelsea FC
  • Chelsea FC vs Wigan Athletic
On first look it looks like we will be able to manage but their importance has been undermined.
First up Mikel. This is one of the moments where I see no point in loaning Essien or selling Meireles. We have immense squad depth everywhere except the pivot area. With Lampard, Mikel, Ramires and maybe even Oscar being a viable option. 
Mikel has been instrumental in our recent form which has helped Chelsea get a firm grip on the top of the table. Losing him means we are most likely to go along with Lampard and Ramires. A very shaky situation for Chelsea to deal with and Di Matteo might test the vulnerable pair a few games before.
This is how Ramires and Mikel have been helping us so far – 
Excuse my subtle humor with the names but if you’ve followed my previous articles, you are well familiar with this type of movement. As it can be seen, Ramires deals with most of the duties. Covering right, switching with Oscar, providing extra cover for the 2 man defense at the back and initiating quick counter-attacks.
This covers up the fact that Chelsea will be okay without Mikel. This is where the problem arises. The Chelsea defense is vulnerable, like it or not they are. Grant Holt’s goal against us, Falcao’s demolition in Monaco, Pogrebnyaks’s magnificent header for Reading are just few of the moments.

The moment Mikel is not covering for Luiz who likes to trudge forward and poke in long balls, problem starts. If Lampard is to start for him he will have to give up most of his attacking runs.

Communication is key. This has helped Mikel and Ramires alot. They know when to cover for each other as well, while at the same time they cover for the two center-backs and Ivanovic.
FUN FACT : Chelsea TV held an event recently, called the Spanish Quartet. Torres told that  all the players on the pitch, talked in English but when it came to Mata and him they spoke in Spanish, which left the defenders dumbfounded. Big reason why they combine well.
Our 2nd option after Lampard is La Masia graduate Oriol Romeu. Hope and pray that he is capable enough to step up. In my opinion he was one of the best players under Andre Villas Boas, and we can definitely use him as he is as defensive minded as Mikel with a hint of tiki-taka in him , thanks to the Catalans.
Our final option for Mikel , might be desperate but it will give the youngster a good opportunity. Nathaniel Chalobah will be back at Chelsea by January, after his half season loan ends at January.

Chalobah has recently been praised by Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola who is now his manager at Watford. He is very well capable of playing in a CDM role and we can always use him and not send him out on loan again !

Now on to the Victor Moses problem –
Actually there is no problem, our depth on the right is very deep. Oscar, Hazard, Mata are all capable on the right. Only problem we might face is, is in games where we require width. 
Against Stoke , the difference he made was instantly noticed. He was ready to defend, drift really wide along with Ivanovic and also cut in. Hence forcing the Stoke rugb… er.. I mean defenders to leave huge gaps.
Here is where we can switch our focus to the left wing and bring on Marko Marin. I believe he has regained fitness by now and could be used as well !

Would love some suggestions in the comments !

Come on Chelsea ! Carefree since 1905.
Sherry Philips (@bluebloodSherry), Deputy Editor

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16 Comments
  1. Anonymous says

    It wont affect us by then we would have bought Fellani from Everton and huntelaar.

  2. Anonymous says

    It wont affect us by then we would have bought Fellani from Everton and huntelaar.

  3. Anonymous says

    Really, I see no problem at all. In fact, Sturidge would be hoping Torres was a Nigerian. No probs.

  4. Anonymous says

    Really, I see no problem at all. In fact, Sturidge would be hoping Torres was a Nigerian. No probs.

  5. papie says

    Romeu will cover well for the absence of Mikel, Piazon is there as cover for right wing. Afcon is not the disaster it used to be for us: Drogba, Kalou, Mikel, Essien… The problem will be when our brazilians have to go: Oscar, Ramires, Luiz, Piazon…

  6. papie says

    Romeu will cover well for the absence of Mikel, Piazon is there as cover for right wing. Afcon is not the disaster it used to be for us: Drogba, Kalou, Mikel, Essien… The problem will be when our brazilians have to go: Oscar, Ramires, Luiz, Piazon…

  7. Anonymous says

    l have the confidence their will not be any problem. Di Matteo is up to the task. He is going to sike up Romeo, so that he can rise up to the occasion. Besides, Nigeria's position in the tournament determines the No. of matches they'll miss for Chelsea

  8. Anonymous says

    l have the confidence their will not be any problem. Di Matteo is up to the task. He is going to sike up Romeo, so that he can rise up to the occasion. Besides, Nigeria's position in the tournament determines the No. of matches they'll miss for Chelsea

  9. obadiah sonde says

    To avoid heartbreathing maches, all we have to do is acquire d maximum 3point from each games we have b4 the tournament and stay comfortable on the league table.
    Moreso, we have benches that are fit 4d position.

    Leoßass (proudly nigerian)
    Up we stay…chelsea

  10. obadiah sonde says

    To avoid heartbreathing maches, all we have to do is acquire d maximum 3point from each games we have b4 the tournament and stay comfortable on the league table.
    Moreso, we have benches that are fit 4d position.

    Leoßass (proudly nigerian)
    Up we stay…chelsea

  11. Anonymous says

    iz only mikel dat i fink iz d problem bt romeu wil do d job

  12. Anonymous says

    iz only mikel dat i fink iz d problem bt romeu wil do d job

  13. Anonymous says

    Romeu and Ramires I think would make a great partnership in CDM, when they play together they have great understanding of the game and Romeu can do what Mikel does and cover for Ivanovic or Luiz when they go up field, however I see your point about using Nathaniel, as it will be a great chance to bring some of the youths and get them adjusted to Chelsea's new style of play

  14. Anonymous says

    Romeu and Ramires I think would make a great partnership in CDM, when they play together they have great understanding of the game and Romeu can do what Mikel does and cover for Ivanovic or Luiz when they go up field, however I see your point about using Nathaniel, as it will be a great chance to bring some of the youths and get them adjusted to Chelsea's new style of play

  15. Anonymous says

    no doubt fellani is a good player but paulinho is a better player, i think we put effort in signing him. i am afraid mikel's absence may reduce the solidity in the defensive mid-field.

  16. Anonymous says

    no doubt fellani is a good player but paulinho is a better player, i think we put effort in signing him. i am afraid mikel's absence may reduce the solidity in the defensive mid-field.

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