How Chelsea can beat Nottingham Forest with 4 undroppables as Silva out and $77m star benched
The Blues have two home games left this season and want to go on where they left off against Bournemouth
Chelsea are now safe from relegation but it’s hardly much of an achievement for a club who were the reigning global and European champions 12 months ago. What it does mean is that any lingering safety questions are gone and attention can continue to press onward to next season.
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The lineup that Frank Lampard selected to face Bournemouth last weekend indicated just that. It was a team nearly three years younger on average than the one that lost 3-1 to Arsenal just days earlier and contained attacking speed and midfield energy that had been massively absent.
There are still steps to be made to continue recovering pride that has been lost in a record-breakingly terrible run of results, but it is a step in the right direction nonetheless. When it comes to facing Nottingham Forest on Saturday, the Blues are up against a team with it all yet to play for.
Chelsea themselves aren’t done with the season. They still have road trips to Manchester City and Manchester United to contend with as well as facing Newcastle at Stamford Bridge before the campaign can be dumped into the bin and forgotten forever. Steve Cooper’s desperate Reds offer the biggest opportunity of tasting triumph for the season is out.
That being said, Forest is currently within touching distance of peeling itself away from the bottom three and is only one point from 34, a score that may well be enough. They will bring fighting spirit to Stamford Bridge even if the sensation of jeopardy is lost on the home fans.
For Lampard, it is his farewell game as interim head coach, and will want to depart with as much of a flourish as possible following a tough month or so at the helm. Here, football. London goes out about how Chelsea can get the better of their opponents.
Chelsea turned to how they ended the game against Arsenal with Mykhailo Mudryk and Noni Madueke on the flanks when they started on the south coast. The pair were working as orthodox but slightly old-fashioned wingers and proved successful.
They have brought an extra flare, but with rawness showing through below the surface, and a sense of recklessness when the rest of the squad play with shackles on. They are also the future of the club and may well find themselves as starting forwards next season after a firesale of teammates during the summer.
This worked last time out and delivered more mobility, speed, and continuity than previous picks. These two are both must-haves from the off.
Consistency in shape
Although being fluid between a back four and back three has been a strength of elite coaches, Chelsea has been too moveable at times. Graham Potter’s side would be altered numerous times per game with personnel and tactical alterations virtually by the minute. With such a big squad it didn’t help to find consistency.
Lampard sought to develop an identity with high-energy, ultra-pressing systems against Brentford and Real Madrid but went away from that against Bournemouth. Sticking with the same shape and structure may be just what this young bunch needs to start growing with each other.
This one isn’t too hard to comprehend. Chelsea decided against enabling Lewis Hall to join up with the England Under-20 team and there is little advantage to this if he isn’t going to get some game time. The teenager has been unused by Lampard having played under Potter last winter.
He was one of the better performers during that period, too. Now, with Ben Chilwell suffering another injury blow and nothing to lose, plus the season-long troubles of Marc Cucurella, Hall is a guy that must earn some minutes and activity in the next four games. As already indicated, the fixtures are terrifying and now is the best chance to accomplish it. He absolutely must play.
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Alongside Hall, following on from his first goal in Chelsea colors, Benoit Badiashile is another that has only earnt his place for the upcoming tests and might be back alongside Wesley Fofana. Although Thiago Silva is a freak of nature, there is little to risk in putting together the future backline of the club.
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