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Michael Tucker

Chelsea 2 Stoke City 1

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GURJ SS   

Would be great to see Remy and Costa in a front 2. Not sure Mikel, Ramires and Matic are needed in the same team though.

The theory would be, Luis and Azpi can cross the ball and are quick, so they can provide width, while Matic and Rami would be able to cover any opposition counterattacks. Also it would truly give Hazard, Remy and Costa a free licence in attack.

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jones   

Yes.

I think Mourinho would rather deal with a problem when it arises than get caught out trying to pre-empt a problem that may never arise. He won't be d**king about playing "ifs-buts-and-maybes" at this stage of the season (or at any stage TBH). He may have a word with a player and tell them to play it safe, but I don't think it would go any further when points are on the line.

Well, from a risk-averse point of view it would be crazy to take that stance. But Mourinho is Mourinho, so I am kind of excited to see what he does.

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Sea foot   

Do we really want a manager who keeps looking 1, 2 or 3 weks ahead and takes his eye off the now? If so, Brenda of the massive football club fits the bill nicely. Get to the CL and forget to play because they were playing us next.

No, I'd rather have a manager who picks his team to get the result he needs from each and every game. Sometimes it don't work and the team gets tired, but we are top of the league with a game in hand. I know which of the two scenarios I would prefer.

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jones   

Do we really want a manager who keeps looking 1, 2 or 3 weks ahead and takes his eye off the now?

Yes.

Do you think Mourinho has only kept his eyes on "the now" during this season?

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Sea foot   

I never said he only has his eyes on the now. I was pointing out that Jose will always play his strongest team available. Would you rather he played a "soft" option and then regret it if it didn't work out. Could you imagine the furore on here if he rested players because there was a "bigger game" in a couple of weeks and it all went tits up?

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Sea foot   

This is going to be one hell of a thread - well onto page 3 already and it doesn't start for another 11 days

And yet the transfer thread is still going strong and that is months away.

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cam4blue   

Well, from a risk-averse point of view it would be crazy to take that stance. But Mourinho is Mourinho, so I am kind of excited to see what he does.

It depends on what you think the bigger risk is TBH. I don't think Mourinho will be willing to risk dropping points against either Stoke or QPR by playing a weakened team. It's disrespectful to the opposition, and if it turns around to bite you, then it's your fault as a manager. That's a risk I don't think Mourinho will be willing to take. You can't control injuries or suspensions, but you can control whether you give your team the best possible platform to win in any given game.
He won't overthink it, and I don't think we need to either. He'll put out the team of available players that he thinks will give us the best chance of getting three points in all our remaining games until the league is either won or lost. If players are unavailable, so be it. That's as it should be IMO. It's not the time of the season to be messing around and second-guessing yourself, trying to be cute.
We'll see I guess.

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xCELERYx   

Lol that midfield would get absolutely raped by the Stoke Orcs. We need muscle in this match. Matic dead on starter.

Please don't just throw around the word "raped" to get your point across, it's quite offensive.

And while yes, it may not be the strongest midfield, I'm thinking of the games we've also got coming up. QPR away is a tough game and we'll need some steel in that midfield for then too. Matic cannot play both games because he's more than likely going to get booked, which means we'll miss him for the bigger games we've got approaching.

What that midfield I listed will do is move the ball forward quickly. Ramires is a better holding player than Matic (note, holding player, not midfielder) and he can do a reliable job playing that role opposed to his more advanced role. Matic exposes our defenders too often by charging forward to close down and Cesc doesn't have the athletic ability to cover when it happens.

One way or another we're going to lack a physical midfielder (I'm presuming Mikel still won't be fit) at some point. I'd rather take that risk at home against Stoke opposed to QPR away. That's just me.

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