Ryan Bertrand 'doubtful' for Thursday while Ashley Cole is still out, what should Chelsea do?

Ian Walton

With both of Chelsea's established left backs potentially missing Thursday's Europa League tie, who should chelsea deploy to protect their left flank?

The London Evening Standard gave us an update on the Chelsea injury situation today, and they had one note at the end that came as a bit of a surprise. According to the paper, left back Ryan Bertrand is a bit ill and is 'soubtful' to play on Thursday.

With Ashley Cole ruled out due to injury, this may be cause for a bit of concern. Cole and Bertrand are the only two established options at the position on our roster, and if both are unavailable on Thursday, Chelsea will have to make due with some sort of makeshift left back.

There appear to be three options to potentially fill in for Bertrand should he not be ready to play in Moscow. David Luiz has played the position before, although he wasn't particularly good at doing so in the past. His overall game has come a long way in the last 3 years though, so I'd expect that he'd likely look a bit more competent than he did at Benfica should he be asked to fill in on the left.

Paulo Ferreira is a fullback by trade, although he's primarily played on the right during his career. he isn't particularly good there anymore, and he'd probably be even less impressive on the left. The 3rd choice would probably be young Nathan Ake, who has played fullback on occasion in the youth ranks for both club and country.

Personally, I'd rule out moving David Luiz to the left immediately. He's our best center back, and Kazan have some solid center forwards. If we're going to play Luiz at all, I'd much prefer to see him used in the center of the defense where he belongs.

That leaves just Ake and Ferreira as options, and I'd much prefer to see Ake. Paulo will always be a favorite of mine for his years of excellent service in any capacity, but Ake should really have a future at the club and the chance to play him should be taken. With a 3-1 aggregate lead and a somewhat neutral ground, this seems like an ideal chance to give the youngster a second start for Chelsea.

Whichever option Rafa takes, I'd be pretty surprised to see anyone but Bertrand starting on Sunday against Manchester City. Missing a less crucial game with "illness" in order to get a rest seems to be common practice since Benitez took over, and it wouldn't surprise me if this sudden development is just another case of the same. I'd imagine if the fixtures were reversed, we'd probably see Bertrand on Thursday. Regardless, here's hoping his replacement does well.

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