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Blues facing massive test in Germany

Preview: Bayer Leverkusen v Chelsea

By | 23rd November 2011

In the wake of their widespread criticism in the press following their 2-1 defeat at home to Liverpool, Chelsea’s visit to Germany to take on Bayer Leverkusen tonight has much more attention than their manager would like, and a result will prove crucial for a boost in morale.

The Blues have not won since their 5-0 smashing of Genk over a month ago, and though they currently lead second-placed Leverkusen by 2 points, another defeat would give the Bundesliga side and Valencia (in third spot with 5) hopes of topping the group themselves, and make the rumors about Guus Hiddink’s potential arrival a bit louder.

With Chelsea currently fifth and looking pretty distant from the Premier League title race, tonight’s performance in Roman Abramovich’s favorite competition can go a long way in getting confidence back for Villas-Boas and his players for the remainder of the season.

Against Liverpool, the Portuguese manager went with a front three of Florent Malouda, Didier Drogba, and Juan Mata, with Ramires, Frank Lampard, and John Obi Mikel in the midfield.

Branislav Ivanovic and Ashley Cole were the fullbacks, while David Luiz partnered the much-maligned skipper John Terry in goal, and Petr Cech stood between the sticks.

A draw would be a decent enough result for Chelsea given their recent form, but some changes to the team that lost to the Reds could be in order.

Cech will, of course, remain in goal. But if Ivanovic was moved into the middle to partner Terry, Jose Bosingwa could be given the chance to maraud the flanks and link up with the attack, an even better prospect considering Ashley Cole can do the same on the left every match.

Mikel was so poor against Liverpool that he was hauled off at half-time, and Raul Meireles could be given the nod, with the former Liverpool and Porto star offering much more going forward in contrast to the highly defensive Nigerian who has never scored a goal for Chelsea.

Villas-Boas may also opt for Oriol Romeu, who has shown maturity beyond his young age in limited action.

For the forward line, Fernando Torres must be on the brink of a recall; he saw just 6 minutes against his former club, and should start.

With the consistently performing duo of Daniel Sturridge and Juan Mata partnering Torres, the West Londoners would surely be favored to score against a side who have a goal difference of just 1 in the Bundesliga, and -1 in the Champions League group stages.

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