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Azpilicueta in for Chelsea?


Chelsea have what on paper looks like a comfortable home tie against Norwich tomorrow, should they make changes in defence?

They say don't change a winning team, but Roberto di Matteo has made quite a habit of it during his Chelsea tenure, in fact he has named a different starting XI in each of Chelsea's six Premier League games.

While the main question in midfield has been Lampard or Oscar, defence is a far more unpredictable matter, with Cahill, Terry and Luiz currently effectively operating a revolving door policy.

With a potential four game ban for Terry on the horizon, it may be good to look at alternatives for the position in case Cahill or Luiz suffer an untimely injury or suspension; and that means bringing in Branislav Ivanovic to centre-back.

The Serbian was originally bought to play in the position, but has since carved out a niche for himself at right-back, but with young Spaniard Cesar Azpilicueta bought during the summer, its fair to say his future there is not totally assured.

Now Ivanovic has not done anything wrong, far from it, he has been an outstanding performer going forward and defensively, but with Terry's possible ban upcoming, it makes sense to test the waters.

This means having a look at both Ivanovic at centre-back, and arguably more importantly giving Azpilicueta a taste of Premier League action, so he is ready for if the Serb is currently called into the centre, for a more trickier fixture, say away to Tottenham in a fortnight's time.

Chelsea are predicted to roll over a Norwich side who have looked anything but Premier League quality so far this season, and while they can take nothing for granted, few can see the Canaries getting a result if the Blues play with the required intensity.

So we are not suggesting Chelsea take their foot off the gas in their bid to extend their lead at the top, more continue with the same rotation policy Di Matteo has implemented since he begun as manager, and has continued into this season.

It makes sense to put Spanish under-21 international Azpilicueta in, and he didn't put a foot wrong at home to Wolves in the League Cup a week and half earlier, and he will be raring to go in front of his new home support.

It would perhaps be a bold call, but unlikely a risky one, and the timing could just be right for the defender to go and show what he can do.

Should Chelsea play Azpilicueta tomorrow, or stick with the tried and tested Ivanovic?

image: © Ben Sutherland

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