The only source of positivity for Chelsea this season has been the intent the youngsters have shown to make an impact. Their opportunities have, of course, been restricted, but in the limited playing time, they have exhibited the hunger that has been completely invisible in some of the senior players.
The game on Wednesday against Maccabi Tel-Aviv is much more important than it initially seemed. Along with being the Champions League opener, it is also a tremendous opportunity for us to get our first home win of the season and go into the weekend’s clash against Arsenal with confidence. Anything other than three points will see us sucked further into the abyss. The pressure is well and truly on.
The likes of Cesc Fabregas, Eden Hazard and Branislav Ivanovic have severely disappointed this season. These individuals were cornerstones in our romp to the Premier League title last year but are yet to turn up yet this time. Ivanovic, in particular, has been downright bad.
This game offers the perfect chance for Jose Mourinho to experiment with a few changes. There are some extremely talented players on the sidelines, and a good performance here can see them playing a big part in the league going forwards.
Here are three players who must feature against Maccabi Tel-Aviv:
1) Abdul Baba Rahman
It is incredible how this guy hasn’t played a single minute yet. Ivanovic has gotten direr by the week but somehow continues to be named as the first-choice right-back. Mourinho confirmed though that Baba Rahman will play on Wednesday, but let’s hope the move includes Cesar Azpilicueta moving over to the right rather than Ivanovic continuing. Signed for £14 million from Augsburg in the summer, it will be great if the Ghanaian puts in a solid performance and cement his place.
2) Robert Kenedy
The Brazilian has already made two appearances for Chelsea, Mourinho’s faith and belief in him are exemplified by the fact that he was brought in the last two games when the Blues were trailing. The 19-year-old may well be given a starting role in this one, with either Pedro or Eden Hazard rested for the weekend. It will be the ideal stage for him to make a major impact.
3) Loic Remy
Very much the forgotten man at Chelsea, Remy absolutely must play from the start against Tel-Aviv. Radamel Falcao is out with a minor tendon injury, and Diego Costa’s form this season has been non-existent. The Spaniard clearly needs a rest.
Remy started the Community Shield against Arsenal in August but after a poor outing that day is yet to make a single appearance in the season-proper. He was a very important player for us last season and scored goals whenever he played. He certainly deserves his chance and is almost sure to make an impact, especially when you consider that he is up against Tal Ben Haim.
While it was also tempting to put Ruben Loftus-Cheek on the list, expecting a change in every position may be too much to ask for. I expect Nemanja Matic to play following a much-improved performance at the weekend, and Ramires to start alongside him. Oscar’s return, of course, is a huge boost, and the Brazilian’s presence may act as a catalyst to our revival.
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Edited By: Karan Dubey
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