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Lamps and JT are out of the CL clash?


abramovich

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I hope he knows what he's doing

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/ ... 393464.ece

Avram Grant is preparing to take the biggest gamble of his Chelsea career by omitting John Terry and Frank Lampard from his side for tonight’s Champions League first knockout round, first-leg tie with Olympiacos.

In an indication of the first-team coach’s no-nonsense approach, Chelsea’s captain and vice-captain were unsure of their places on Sunday’s stormy flight from London and were finally told that they were to be left out at training yesterday. Nicolas Anelka, the £15 million signing from Bolton Wanderers last month, will also be overlooked.

It is understood that Grant told the squad that he wanted to rotate the team with a view to Sunday’s Carling Cup final against Tottenham Hotspur and that this evening’s team should not be regarded as his first XI. Terry and Lampard played in Saturday’s FA Cup fifth-round victory over Huddersfield Town and can expect to return at Wembley Stadium this weekend.

For all Grant’s explanation, his decision is still a surprise because tonight’s game is the first time that he has been able to choose from a virtually full-strength squad, with only Andriy Shevchenko left behind in London as he recovers from a back injury.

It is also something of a gamble because Terry and Lampard have been Chelsea’s most consistent performers for several seasons, while Olympiacos are not to be underestimated, having qualified from a group that included Real Madrid, Lazio and Werder Bremen.

Of his selection policy, Grant said: “Football is about a squad and the players who have come back from injury or African Nations Cup make it better for us. I make my decisions based on what will be best for Chelsea in this game and the next and next. I have no problem leaving any star name out.”

While accepting Grant’s decision, it was also a shock to the players, especially considering the manner in which they were treated by his predecessor, José Mourinho, who made a point of building his team around his England stars.

Terry has played in every Champions League match for which he was available since breaking into the team under Claudio Ranieri five years ago, while Lampard has not been left out since being omitted from a group-stage match against Sparta Prague in September 2003.

Grant, however, has made a clear signal that he intends to do things differently and will not follow Mourinho’s example of having so-called “Untouchables”. Terry’s place will be taken by Alex, the Brazil defender partnering Ricardo Carvalho in the centre of defence, with Michael Essien accompanying Michael Ballack in front of Claude Makelele in midfield.

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Terry’s place will be taken by Alex, the Brazil defender partnering Ricardo Carvalho in the centre of defence, with Michael Essien accompanying Michael Ballack in front of Claude Makelele in midfield.

Still sounds pretty (scratch that) extremely formidable.

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Gutsy move but Grant I must say. I hope he knows what he's doing. If we lose there will be some angry voices. I personally will make my oppinion heard icon_rolleyes.gif

Terry’s place will be taken by Alex, the Brazil defender partnering Ricardo Carvalho in the centre of defence, with Michael Essien accompanying Michael Ballack in front of Claude Makelele in midfield.

Still sounds pretty (scratch that) extremely formidable.

I'd rather give Maka some rest and play Mikel instead.

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It is a pretty big risk but Alex has been consistently solid this season and deserves his place in the first team. Lampard has been out for a while so it is understandable. Still, If I was in Grant's position I'd play both of them, Benitez has a habit of doing this with Torres and Gerrard and on a number of occassions it has backfired on him. If we get a comfortable lead then take them off is how I'd do it.

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Well...Hats of to AG if this is true. I must say, a clever and respectful move! Why...? If you look at the players (Alex and MB) who played in their positions (JT's and Lamps') I must say that they were the best Chelsea players in the last month or so!

For me, playing either pair would be great...

What troubles me is the attack and how he will manage that!

Nevertheless, I suspect a score-draw!

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Must say I was talkin about this with my nephew and we both thought it could be a wise decision,

Some of us are of the opinion Lamps and Ballack dont play well together (IMO the partnership needs time) so maybe it was more a choice of Grant wanted Ballack to play as he has been playing very well and thought Essiens workrate more than Lampards guile could be a key here,

add to that Lamps long lay off and although he had a great game against Huddersfield maybe the opposition flattered him a bit and he is still not quite fit enough for this one.

Ballack should again get the armband for this and I think he really gets up for games when he is Captain,

JT again looked good and his leadership qualities are what we could miss most but Alex has done so well and has a good understanding with Carvalho which hardley weakens our defence and if JT pushed himself too hard after his lay off it would be a shame and maybe needless.

I dont see a lot of difference either way with this so for me the fitter players should start.

I am more interested to see if later in the game if we are doing ok if Anelka and Drogs can get twenty minutes together and if anyone (Ballack maybe) can feed them anything that would show what we potentially have here.

not agreeing with Grant for the sake of it in fact as I said I can see a case for both options,

lets just hope the outcome is what we want,

ChElSea2.gif come on you Blues

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