Lack of defensive depth could trouble Chelsea’s title push
Chelsea’s lack of cover at the heart of their defence could be the one stumbling block if they are to be denied becoming Premier League champions.
Without John Terry and Alex, Carlo Ancelotti was forced into choosing a makeshift partnership for the clash with Sunderland, with the big decision being who to partner with Branislav Ivanovic.
Young prospect Jeffrey Bruma was one option, but Ancelotti instead opted for the experience of Paulo Ferreira, despite the Portuguese international being unproven at the centre of the defence.
Ancelotti noted after that it was not his lack of belief in Bruma that led to his decision and also that Ferreira’s individual display was not the reason for the surprise loss.
He said: “I had more confidence in Ferreira for this game (than Jeffrey Bruma) because I saw him in [the] training session. The reason we lost was not because Ferreira played centre back.
“The performance was poor and we have to know in football it can happen, but we are able to come back and stay focused on results.”
Ancelotti may also want to think twice about pairing Ivanovic and Ferreira at the heart of his defence again because the last time he made this decision before Sunderland was when they conceded three goals in the Carling Cup last season against Blackburn.
Chelsea are still 8/11 to win the Premier League and should be in line to welcome back Terry for their next game away at Birmingham.
With Chelsea already qualified from Group F in the Champions League, Ancelotti may decide that the time is right to hand Bruma some first-team experience in the home clash that follows with MSK Zilina.
Chelsea are also currently struggling with midfield issues as Frank Lampard is injured and Michael Essien is in the middle of a three-game ban.
Arsenal are now two points behind Chelsea and 7/2 to win the Premier League. See the full Premier League winners betting odds market.