Champions League: Chelsea v PSG - Where do you think that Cesc Fabregas should start the game?
Chelsea take on PSG in the second leg of our Champions League tie on Wednesday night 1-2 down but...
Chelsea take on PSG in the second leg of our Champions League tie on Wednesday night 1-2 down but with an important away goal. My question to the Chelsea faithful reading this post is where YOU believe Cesc Fabregas should start the game?
I am asking the question because Guus Hiddink faces a real dilemma in my view. John Terry misses the game with the hamstring injury, as a result Branislav Ivanovic will partner Gary Cahill at the back once again so should the manager now consider playing Cesc Fabregas further forward as our number ten to allow both Nemanja Matic and Mikel to provide protection in front of these two?
Chelsea head into the game as underdogs currently at odds of 9/5 with 888Sport. We cannot take anything for granted. Some people will have their reservations about the Matic/Mikel combo which is fair enough but based on the fact that many people believe PSG will beat us, let me explain my thinking here before you judge.
You will agree that for the most part, Cahill and Ivanovic have done well enough of late. Both have looked quite solid but for one or two lapses in concentration. It's those lapses that could cost us dearly with the likes of Ibrahimovic and Cavani up top against us. Because of that, I am all for adopting a 100% defensive approach in the deep-lying midfield area by playing Mikel next to Matic to provide additional protection.
If Cesc Fabregas plays there from a defensive point of view, despite giving his best defensive performance in Paris three weeks ago, we ARE weaker and we have seen in the past just how Cesc can get turned and beaten in that position. What happens as a result is that either Mikel or Matic would have to cover the position Fabregas should be in addition to their own and we become exposed/outnumbered.
In my view, Nemanja Matic has much more of an influence on games when he knows that he has someone along side him that will remain in that position, cover their own ground and to not leave him with additional work to do. Look at what happened in the game against Dynamo Kiev at home for example. He had Ramires alongside him and gave a man-of-the-match performance.
Let's not forget what happened last season when PSG came here. We conceded TWO goals from TWO set-pieces so the additional height in the box to defend corners with both Matic and Mikel would help in that area which believe me, PSG will be looking to expose once again.
On the flip side we have to look at Fabregas' position either in the deeper midfield role or pushed forward as our number ten. In the deeper role, he can adopt an almost Quarterback like role and pick his passes with long balls over the top which can split defences as we have seen in the past two seasons.
In the number ten role, Fabregas can also open the door with a shorter, quicker pass to open the door which he has demonstrated time and time again. His vision is outstanding and by pushing him forward you would give PSG something to think about by dropping one of their midfield men back deep to mark him.
However, there are also down-sides to playing him further forward also. Playing as the number ten, you rely on the ball being played into him so would be looking at Matic/Mikel to do so. Some people argue that the latter doesn't play the ball quick enough but I beg to differ of late.
Also, another important point is that by playing deeper, Fabregas can see the game playing out in front of him and can see the options he has to pass to much better. By playing as the number ten, more often than not he will pick the ball up with his back to goal to then try and make something of the possession of the ball he has.
It's a difficult situation and definitely a dilemma for Guus Hiddink. The question is what do you think, where would YOU play Cesc Fabregas?