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Assuming that the mesmerising form of Ballack means that Frank should not be a nailed on starter when he comes back, is the same to be said for Alex when JT returns?

Not an opinion either way. Just putting it up for discussion. Alex has been 120% solid.

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It's a good point to make Just, Alex and Carvalho look solid, Ballack seems to have this captaincy down to a fine art (years of practise perhaps?)... so do we need John Terry? For me there isn't a doubt in my mind - we do need him. We would have never let in 4 against Villa with him at the back - leadership, responsibility, positioning and ability... 4 things that it takes to make a good centre half, and he has all that and then some. Him and Riccy are our perfect partnership.

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Pretty much agree with Gem. It iwll be tough on Alex as he has done a very very fine job however JT is club captain and his place in the team is guaranteed whilst he maintains his form. The big difference between JT and Lamps is that Lamps form has dropped and Ballack is playing a lot better (and the team is playing better as a consequence) whereas JT's form is fine.

If JT were to come back and his form was to dip noticeably then there would be a case for Alex alongside Ricky (same goes for Ricky of course)

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JT straight back in no question despite Alex having done well.

It is going to be interesting when Lamps comes back in, I imagine during the ACN that the midfield for the majority of the games will be:

----------Maka

Lamps-------------Ballack

and then when the ACN is over and Essien and Mikel return, Avram is going to have to do some serious jiggery-pokery as nobody is going to be happy sat on the bench for any length of time.

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generally he's been great so far, alex.

but... his timing is still off a little and we do miss jt's organisation...

JT is the better player for me in many areas, but alex does look an excellent signing (whoever was behind it) nonetheless.

a wider point is it's great to see how well we've done without lamps, drogba and jt- 4 points off the top is very good.

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not a question really, JT's needed. I don't really no what else to say about that, he's Terry our captain....now about lampard, hard to say, it's been nice not yelling at my t.v. saying "LAMPARD MAKE IT OVER THE WAAALL!" gotten used to the midfield and what Bodzilla said, our play isn't focused on Drogba scoring goals only, everyone's scoring.

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Guest Brian M

JT for sure. He 'is' Chelsea. But Lamps for me can cool his heels on the bench while Ballack takes centre stage. There are enough games for both of them to start. Though maybe not together.

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Ballack and Alex have nothing to be removed for, thats for sure.

I just think it is nice that for once big names are out and we are not all running around screaming at the tops of our voices.

We have adapted, taken it in our stride. Big up to players and management for pulling that off I think.

However JT is one of the worlds best. So it is a quandry.

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With Ballacks fine form, it is now time that the manager plays probably the best midfield in the premiership, which, Ballack, Essien and Lampard.

Now with Jose gone, I can't see Carvalho staying much longer, which means it will be Alex and JT.

There is no doubt, we need JT and Lamps back, they are true blues at heart.

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Who ever deserves the place on merit and nothing else including the captain's armband should decide. Perhaps one good thing is that neither player needs to be rushed back as I think was the case in the past; JT needs full rehabilitation and the support of medical staff that ensure he gets it without pressure from management to get him back asap.

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generally he's been great so far, alex.

but... his timing is still off a little and we do miss jt's organisation...

JT is the better player for me in many areas, but alex does look an excellent signing (whoever was behind it) nonetheless.

a wider point is it's great to see how well we've done without lamps, drogba and jt- 4 points off the top is very good.

"4 points off the top is very good"?

What a massive understatement!!!

Considering our early season poor form, the disproportionate number of injuries we've had to key players compared to our rivals, the turmoil of José's sudden departure and the much talked about "fantastic form" of Arse and Manure, to still be in contention at this stage is nothing short of remarkable in my opinion. Way back in October I thought we'd struggle to qualify for next season's champion's league.

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JT for sure. He 'is' Chelsea. But Lamps for me can cool his heels on the bench while Ballack takes centre stage. There are enough games for both of them to start. Though maybe not together.

I agree Brian.

I have been really impressed by Ballack and to be truthful have not been impressed with Frank since this time last year. His form for Club and Country has been well below the high level he has set himself.

If Ballack's fitness is maintained or improved, I would start with him in preference to Frank. This though, would almost certainly accelerate his exit from the Club.

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I was slightly disappointed with Ballack's focus yesterday. That being said, our offense seems to run much smoother though him. Hopefully, he will return to form in the next fixture.

What are your opinions about the results of Ballack, and Lampard alongside. Will this be a sucessful venture? Or, will there not be enough pace, and quality defense to justify both as starters?

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Well I'm going to say neither JT nor Lamps should walk straight back into the team. Neither is indispensable any more whilst Alex and Ballack are in the starting XI on merit. JT might not like being on the bench however it may just make him raise his game to yet another level by telling the heirarchy 'I'm going to perform so well that you can never ever leave me on the bench again'.

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On the one hand, I think as club captain, JT should always be in the line up if fit.

On the other hand, I actually think he's been playing a bit below par, for him, for a while now. Granted this has been mainly due to injuries, and being rushed back too quickly after these to patch up our back 4, but when was the last time JT absolutely bossed a game, like we know he can?

He should be back in, but if his form is not what it should be, then the case of the return of Alex will br a strong one...

Nice dilemma to have though!

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I think this writing off of Lampard is ridiculous. He is still the right side of 30 and has plenty of games left to offer Chelsea. If he has to spend a few games riding pine everynow and again then so be it, everyone else at Chelsea has at some point. There is no doubt in my mind however that (career ending injuries aside) that if Lampard remains at Chelsea, his still go alot of first class performances left to give.

PS. I think Lampard CAN play alongside Ballack no problems.

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I think this writing off of Lampard is ridiculous. He is still the right side of 30 and has plenty of games left to offer Chelsea. If he has to spend a few games riding pine everynow and again then so be it, everyone else at Chelsea has at some point. There is no doubt in my mind however that (career ending injuries aside) that if Lampard remains at Chelsea, his still go alot of first class performances left to give.

PS. I think Lampard CAN play alongside Ballack no problems.

Alex has done really well and is a very good replacement for JT. When JT is fit I'm sure he will get his place back but he can't afford to be complacent. Leaving Carvalho out would be a big mistake. He has the pace and mobility that JT and Alex lack.

As far as Frank is concerned, he will be straight back in the team when fit and rightly so. I'm constantly amazed at those who question his contribution to the team. 300.gif

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I think this writing off of Lampard is ridiculous. He is still the right side of 30 and has plenty of games left to offer Chelsea. If he has to spend a few games riding pine everynow and again then so be it, everyone else at Chelsea has at some point. There is no doubt in my mind however that (career ending injuries aside) that if Lampard remains at Chelsea, his still go alot of first class performances left to give.

PS. I think Lampard CAN play alongside Ballack no problems.

Writing off is a bit strong. I think most are just considering that if he does not want to sign then life goes on, and for once we need to prepare before hand...remember how we did not prepare for Gallas leaving for example....*shudder*.

The problem with Lamps and Ballack in tandem is that there is a pace issue. Essien can help to redress that, SWP is doing similar in the middle right now, but those two with a holder behind them would be a tad dodgy to my mind. I could see Arsenal's midfield (for instance) tearing it to pieces if it was Lamps, Ballack and Maka. All that fast paced moving and passing...yikes! 317.gif

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Having thought about it more I actually think neither JT or Lamps should expect to walk straight back into the team.

I realise what a great player he is and the benefits he can give us, but Frank is the easier decision for me at the moment. This is because, IMO, (based on form), Ballack is the best option for us at the current time. Put simply he is playing better and more effectively than Lampard was before his injury.

JT is different. I have read some people saying he was not performing at his highest level prior to his injury. Well, all I can say is I didn't see that. However, and this is the crucial bit, Alex has come in and done brilliantly and, for me, performed every bit as well as JT was. As such it would be grossly unfair to consign him to the bench the minute JT is fit again.

Also think how damaging it would be, not only to Alex's confidence, but to every fringe/young player knowing that, if you do get into the side and perform consistently well, you will still be left out of the team the minute the previous incumbent is fit to play. It would be totally dis-heartening.

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I to find it hard when people question Frank Lampard too. I dont believe he a Ballack cant work together. I was'nt impressed with Ballack last term but hopefully the rest his injury has given him and his year in England have settled him into the pace of the prem.

I think he is a big enough player/personality to continue pulling the midfield strings when FL returns to the side having enjoyed the recent responsibility that the captancy has given him.

I dont think it has to be one or the other as long as we still keep width in the team there is no reason they cant complement each other in terms of creating space etc.

A lot of teams think if you stop FL playing you can stop CFC, but with MB in there to they will have them both to worry about.

I think JT should return when fit but Alex is doing a fine job in his place so this time we can afford to wait until JT is fully fit and not rushed back as has happend in the past purely through lack of a quality replacement, which might then save him from another immediate injury lay-off.

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Also think how damaging it would be, not only to Alex's confidence, but to every fringe/young player knowing that, if you do get into the side and perform consistently well, you will still be left out of the team the minute the previous incumbent is fit to play. It would be totally dis-heartening.

I think in the majority of cases that is true however I think there are some circumstances where the player being dropped back to the bench will be fully expecting it and understands the reasons why. generally that applies for a club captain or one of the team's star players.

If Milan lost Kaka to injury and someone came on and did well for 5 weeks they would still expect to have to stand down when Kaka returned. Same can be said for a number of other top players at a lot of clubs.

However I should clarify that I mean this only if the top player was on good form before getting injured. If JT's form has been decidedly poor and Alex came in and performed in the manner he has then I would agree entirely that Alex should keep his place. However I don't believe JT's form has dropped in the manner that some have suggested.

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I wouldn't go so far as to say that they should waltz right back in, but I am confident that both these players will get back in on merit.

I have said time and again that I am counting my lucky stars we signed Alex for we have missed nary a beat since JT has been out and it has mainly been due to Alex. I also just wanted to touch on the issue of Carvalho - I don't believe he is an automatic "departure" just because Jose has left. But it is ludicrous to think JT would be on the bench because he offers us SO MUCH MORE than just a good central defender when he is on the pitch!

As for Lamps, we'll see. I amused at the amount of "writing off" I'm reading on these forums as far as he is concerned. I'll admit he hasn't been at his brilliant best, but then that is awfully good don't you think, and even at slightly off his best he has been doing quite well for us. With the ACN robbing us of Essien and Mikel, I have a feeling Lampard will walk right back into the squad because he is needed; maybe not critically so but he is needed. I shudder every time I see Sidwell in our line-up, as compared to the rest of our midfielders he certainly looks limited.

Cheers,

Butch

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