With the Blues out of action this weekend, it's time to bring focus right to our upcoming match against the Mancs. One of the big talking-points among Chelsea fans is figuring out the right formation to accommodate our players - so what is the best way to start against the league leaders on Tuesday?
Bringing Torres and Luiz into the team has of course created selection problems - but we want competition for places, right? The bad thing is that we haven't quite figured out our best system and best starting eleven since they joined the team. The introduction of Torres into the team hasn't put a spark back into Drogba's play like many of us hoped it would - now it seems like Anelka is the pairing that will work best with the Spaniard.
David Luiz has been most impressive on his few appearances for the Blues - do we want to keep him on as the new central defensive partner for JT and stick Ivanovic on the right again? Or keep Bane and Bos as part of the back four? Decisions, decisions. We're playing at home, so we'll be expected to keep more attacking formation, but Rooney is finding form again so we have to keep a close eye on him.
Then there's the midfield - keep Ramires, Essien, Malouda and Lampard? I might even switch out Malouda and give Zhirkov another shot at the starting line-up. We looked good against Copenhagen, but that's because nobody gave them the memo to crowd our midfield, thus effectively putting a halt to our forward play. Yuri might give us a bit more width as he may be the closest thing we have to a proper winger. Plus, if he wants to unleash a rocket like the one against Moscow in the Champions League - now is the time! Though I can, of course, see the argument against starting him as he's been out injured for so long and we're not sure what kind of form he's in now that he's back.
We've had some favors lately, with Manchester City and Tottenham dropping points. We usually don't capitalize on these favors, but we absolutely must now. No excuses. The boys have to come out fighting. Stop playing for 45 minutes.
My prediction is that Ancelotti keeps the side and the formation that started against Copenhagen in the Champions League. He might be thinking that it brought success, so stick with it. Especially in such a huge match. Though my own personal changes might be to bring in Luiz and swap Malouda for Zhirkov.
Projected CFC XI
Bosingwa - Ivanovic - Terry - Cole
Ramires - Essien - Lampard - Malouda
Anelka - Torres
So, let's put it in your hands. You're the gaffer. What do you do? Back to 4-3-3? 4-4-2? Another attempt at the diamond?