Wolves’s wafer thin midfield options will the biggest concern tomorrow. Actually, the fact we’re playing Chelsea (against whom we have 4 PL losses, 16 goals shipped) is probably the biggest concern, but the midfield is still a worry.
Lets look at the absentees: With Henry suspended, Mancienne ineligible to play against his parent club and Guedioura injured, Wolves suddenly look bereft of decent central midfield options (and, let’s face it, still a bit shaky on the wing with Hunt unlikely to be up to speed yet).
Interestingly, McCarthy has apparently – according to the Express and Star - signalled he’s ready to hand Milijas a start (see, all he needs to do is wait for the rest of the squad to fall apart around him). McCarthy also came up with my quote of the week in praise of his player.
While the E&S reports this with no sense of irony, I’m sure there was a bit of a twinkle in Mick’s eye – I hope our definition of ‘very talented’ hasn’t sunk that low yet. That Milijas may be good enough to play, even if only in the absence of the rest of the central midfield, comes as a bit of a surprise. I hope he takes the opportunity to impress but, Chelsea not being the easiest of opponents, I also hope he doesn’t get completely written off if he sometimes fails in his assigned role.
Fletcher will probably keep his place on the right wing, despite looking completely unsuitable whenever played there. I’d like to see Van Damme brought into the midfield as he’s shown the strength we’re going to need in this game, with Jones or Edwards dropping to the bench.
Defensively it looks like we’ll be missing Craddock for a bit longer. Much as we’d benefit from his experience, his absence is unlikely to be felt as greatly: Stearman came in last week and did a good job in partnership with Berra.
Despite a lacklustre showing against West Ham, Doyle is the best option solo up front.
So, we can’t field our regular team against the Champions (lost one in last 15 at Stamford Bridge) away from home. Oh, and Drogba will be back for them. Does this mean we’re bound to lose? Of course not, a number of teams have gone to Stamford Bridge and very nearly given them a scare. McCarthy will have kicked his team into shape after last week’s terrible second half capitulation and they’ll play out of their skins for the whole game. Milijas will seize the opportunity to show he really is the player we all want him to be and we’ll defend hard to grab a 2-1 victory. (Milias & Doyle)
And then I woke up…3-0 Chelsea.