Roberto Di Matteo’s first big selection call for the Champions League final is at centre-half – David Luiz and Gary Cahill have both trained this week and, fingers crossed, should start but are they both up to it on Saturday night?
With Branislav Ivanović and John Terry suspended, it’s a no-brainer but if the worst happens and one of them pulls up, Chelsea are in big trouble with no other natural centre-halves available and Bayern Munich’s strength is their potent attack.
But having said that, the back five does pick itself with Petr Cech in goal, and José Bosingwa, Cahill, Luiz, and Ashley Cole completing the defence.
So on to the midfield and based on Di Matteo’s preferred 4-2-3-1 formation, John Obi Mikel and Frank Lampard will form the central midfield pairing.
With Didier Drogba likely to get the nod ahead of Fernando Torres in order to bully the Bayern back-line and Juan Mata the first name on the team sheet, that leaves the wide positions as the biggest headaches.
Di Matteo is likely to opt for Salomon Kalou, who has featured in the majority of games under the Italian, and with Ramires out and Daniel Sturridge out of favour, Florent Malouda may also get the nod.
The Frenchman has not started too many games this season and is set to depart at the end of the campaign, but he has the experience and nous to play a role on Saturday.
The other option is to change the formation to include Michael Essien in a three-man midfield and ship Mata out wide.
But that’s is unlikely to happen with Chelsea’s wingers needing to be disciplined as they bid to keep Arjen Robben and Franck Ribéry under wraps.
Cristiano Ronaldo might have torn up La Liga this year scoring 46 league goals in 38 games but he’ll have to perform miracles to drag Portugal into Euro 2012 contention.
Let’s face it, Portugal are not Spain and as a result Ronaldo is going to get upstaged again by club colleagues.
Of course the 27-year-old is probably one of the best finishers at the tournament but he is unlikely to claim the Golden Boot this summer because he just won’t get the service from his team-mates.
Just look at his international record – 32 goals in 88 appearances – that is not the sort of figures he attains at club level and he, more than anyone else, is someone that can justify blaming his team-mates.
With a group containing Denmark, Germany and Holland, the Portugese are not likely to be creating chances left, right and centre and frankly if they don’t find a way to make them they’ve got no hope.
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