Date: 20th September 2008 at 8:56pm
Written by:

Cristiano Ronaldo and Dimitar Berbatov could both start at Stamford Bridge tomorrow, along with Paul Scholes who is returning from suspension. But we cannot afford to play them all.

Imagine a starting line-up like this: Van der Sar; Brown, Evans, Ferdinand, Evra; Hargreaves, Scholes; Tevez, Rooney, Ronaldo; Berbatov.

On paper it looks wonderful. Upon closer examination the flaws are obvious. Chelsea are a bruising, physical team with much emphasis on pressing, tackling and harassing. Like Liverpool but with better players.

Starting a half-fit Ronaldo is a bad idea. He could be marked out as effectively that we would have to bring him off because of extreme tiredness around the 60th minute. Leaving him on the bench, though, could provide us a very lethal attacking weapon who could be introduced when it becomes necessary.

As for Scholes: can’t run, can’t tackle. We cannot afford the Roy Keane syndrome: Fergie should not play him, entrusting it to other players to do his legwork. That simply does not work. As Carrick is not available I must suggest a Fletcher-Hargreaves midfield pairing. That’s the best possibility we have.

Fergie could play with three in midfield, in this case Anderson could start but he must start to put in performances which will remind us of his autumn form of last season when he was one our best players in many games.

If the 4-2-3-1 is deemed to be the way to go then I beg to start with Nani. His inconsistency is frustrating but with Tevez, Berbatov and Rooney around he could raise him game and show some class. Do not play 4-4-2 if that means sticking Rooney out onto the right midfield. That’s simply a bad idea as we have seen it at Anfield.

My starting eleven would be: VdS – Brown, Evans, Ferdinand, Evra – Hargreaves, Fletcher – Tevez, Rooney, Nani – Berbatov

Discuss.