To be, or not to be - that is the question.
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of squad rotation or to take arms against a horde of unnamed Vikings and by a first choice lineup, end them.
Date/Time: Tuesday, October 2nd, 19:45 (BST); 2:45 PM (EDT); Wednesday, October 3rd, 12:15 AM (IST)
Venue: Parken Stadium, Copenhagen, Denmark
TV Information: Sky Sports 2 (UK); Fox Soccer Plus (USA); none (India)
Hamlet? Check. Vikings? Check. LEGO? Well, we can't have it all, can we? When I was little, my mother visited LEGOLAND in Billund. No, she did not take me along - I had to go tend the fallows like a good comrade should (I was actually in school, probably). She did bring me back a keychain with a figurine on it. I loved that keychain. I would've loved some actual LEGOs even more. She said they were too expensive. I hate you, Denmark.
I've been told there's a team in Denmark that ain't got no history, that made it to the Champions League, and that's been drawn in Chelsea's group. I'm sure they have a name, but every time I try to write it down, my keyboard breaks. Since my carbon footprint is large enough without the added pile of broken keyboards made from plastic that doesn't break down for millenia, let's just go ahead and call them FCN.
FCN: A football team. From Denmark. Their lineup shall consist of 11 players, presumably 1 in goal and 10 in the outfield. But who knows, maybe they play with two goalkeepers in Denmark. You can't dictate rules to Vikings, man. If I try to tell a Viking that he can only put 1 player in goal and he pulls an axe or a spear on me...well, I'll be like "Dude, I'm just joking. Play as many keepers as you want. Oh, by the way, can I have your double-horned helmet for my Halloween costume?"
The Viking horde of North Jelly Belly do count ex-MLS Humanitarian of the Year Michael Parkhurst among their lot, so perhaps they're a bit mellower than the Vikings of old. I wouldn't count on it though, much like you shouldn't count on not seeing a basketful of
decapitated heads stories on Andreas Laudrup in the English media. Famous family name alert! I have no idea how talented he may actually be, but his career path from Real Madrid B to Danish Superliga is not exactly sloping the right way. But Michael was boss and Brian played for Chelsea, so Andreas is sure to put up a five-spot on Tuesday.
They have a bunch of other players and they even practice certain battle formations, so go check out Tim's tactical preview to prepare yourself. For battle. We must be battle ready! There are expensive LEGOs and three crucial Champions League group stage points at stake!
Chelsea: Top of the table and riding high on the wings of sweet victory, this match and the one after provide ample opportunity to rotate the squad and take six easy points, three each in the two major competitions in which the team is involved. Alternatively, they provide ample opportunity to fall into the trap of underestimation. Decisions, decisions.
One thing seems certain: Frank Lampard will be back in the starting lineup. The media jumped quick to rerun stories that unsettled AVB from last year (never forgetting to advance Frank's age by a year), but Di Matteo has kept things under control so far. It will be interesting to see who gets to partner Frank in the middle. Could Oriol Romeu be entrusted with the role in an actual pressure situation?
In defense, David Luiz may or may not be carrying a knock from Saturday, so Gary Cahill is likely to deputize. John Terry has made a habit of picking up stupid bans & suspensions lately, but he should be available for this one. It will be interesting to see who gets to play on the right side. Could Cesar Azpilicueta be entrusted with the role in an actual pressure situation?
The usual wealth of options apply in the attacking band. I have no idea how Roberto Di Matteo could choose between six healthy options, but if it were me, I'd assign each of them a number (1-6) and then roll a die. It will be interesting to see if Marko Marin gets to start. Could his hamstring be entrusted with a role in an actual game situation?
Up top, there's a wealth of options. There's Fernando Torres and Fernando Torres and, I think, Fernando Torres. One of those guys should get the start; and even though Fernando Torres has started every single match of the season so far, my money is on Fernando Torres. Fernando Torres has not recovered from his case of the Marins, so he will not be available. Oh wait, that's Daniel Sturridge. So that's annoying.
The Half-Barrel: Petr Cech; Ashley Cole, John Terry, Gary Cahill, Cesar Azpilicueta; Oriol Romeu, Frank Lampard; Marko Marin, Eden Hazard, Victor Moses; Fernando Torres
This preview has been a mess of Shakespearean proportions. Let's hope Chelsea do not follow suit tomorrow.