Well, we made it against all odds. Clearly we had a bit of luck on our side, but we worked our socks off and were rewarded. Now we find ourselves in the final, but yellows and reds amassed to the point that Terry, Ivanovich, Meireles, and Ramires won’t be able to play. David Luiz is currently injured; Cahill exited today’s game with a hamstring injury. Who will play in the final, and how can we possibly win with such a vulnerable defensive line?
We won today, didn’t we? Well, we tied, but we didn’t tie against Bolton or Sporting Gijon; no, we tied against Barcelona, and that, my friends, is no small thing. We tied with 10 men rather than 11. We tied without Terry, David Luiz, and Cahill. Granted we had Ramires and Ivanovich, but don’t write us off just yet. Let’s face it, either Real Madrid or Bayern, we are in for another tough challenge if not tougher than against Barcelona. We are going to need another solid defensive display with strong counterattacking and set pieces.
So, who will play? Here’s what I think:
Kalou – Mikel – Essien – Lampard
Cole – David Luiz – Cahill – Bosingwa
I think Sturridge will start this one on the bench. Lack of experience, selfishness, lack of defending–I see him riding the pony pine.
I think Drogba is better in the air and will be better suited for set pieces than Torres. This may come in handy, especially against Sergio Ramos and Pepe if we play Real Madrid.
I think David Luiz and Cahill will both be introduced as game fit by the time the final comes around next month.
Tactically, we will need to flood the 18 yard line just like we did against Barca, especially if we play against Real Madrid. Pressure must be applied against Ronaldo; Robben; Gomez; Ribbery; Benzema; Ozil. My word, this is going to be difficult! But nothing is insurmountable now that we have gone toe to toe with Barcelona!
More on tactics after our opponents are decided tomorrow.