No Terry, No Ivanovic, so who will Chelsea pick for the Champions League final
18:22 GMT, 25 April 2012
As the dust settles on Chelsea’s remarkable win over European champions Barcelona, caretaker manager Roberto Di Matteo will have some tough choices to make before the final in little more than three weeks time.
The Italian will definitely be without captain John Terry, banned after being sent-off for a knee in the back of Alexis Sanchez, and fellow defender Branislav Ivanovic for picking up too many bookings. Form midfielder and Nou Camp goalscorer Ramires is similarly suspended, as it Portuguese anchorman Raul Meireles.
All roads lead to Munich: Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard celebrates after Fernando Torres secures the passage through to the final, and manager Roberto Di Matteo celebrates (below)
But Di Matteo still has options for Germany with a spine of Cech, Cole, Lampard and Drogba more than capable of leading Chelsea to Champions League glory for the first time in their history.
Sportsmail looks at Di Matteo’s options ahead of the final in Munich on May 19, after the epic double-header with Barcelona has left the Blues missing some big names.
Possible Starting XI
Goalkeeper- Peter Cech, 29, Champions’ League appearances 12 (goals 0)
Chelsea’s rock in goal. Superb in both legs against Barcelona, making vital saves from Adriano, Cuenca and Messi. The Blues will need all his experience in Munich.
Right Back- Jose Bosingwa, 29, 10 (0)
Should start at right-back in the absence of Ivanovic, and showed his versatility when covering at centre-half after Terry was sent-off in the Nou Camp. Not quite the marauder he used to be going forward.
Left Back- Ashley Cole, 31, 11 (0)
Arguably Chelsea’s best performer across both legs of the semi-final, Cole has shrugged off mediocre early season form to emerge as probably the world’s best left-back again.
Third time lucky: Ashley Cole has a record of played two lost two in Champions League finals to date
Centre Back – David Luiz, 25, 10 (1)
Chelsea will pray Luiz is fit in the absence of Terry, after the Brazilian pulled-up with a hamstring injury in the FA Cup semi-final win over Tottenham.
Centre Back- Gary Cahill, 26, 4 (0)
Another fitness doubt after hobbling off just 12 minutes into the second leg against Barca. Has grown in confidence since signing from Bolton and Chelsea would love to have him in Munich.
HOW THEY WILL LINE UP
Bosingwa, Cahill, Luiz, Cole
Lampard (c), Mikel
Sturridge, Mata, Kalou
Defensive Midfielder – John Mikel Obi, 25, 8 (0)
Back in favour again with some assured, unfussy displays protecting the back four. Booked in Barcelona but still available for the final.
Defensive Midfielder- Frank Lampard (c), 33, 11 (3)
Set to lead Chelsea out in Munich and undoubtedly deserves the honour. A force again since Andre Villas Boas’ departure, he twice sprung Ramires with brilliant passes to help create goals in the semi-final.
Attacking Midfielder – Juan Mata, 24, 11 (2)
Not his night chasing around without the ball against Barca, but has had a fine season since moving from Valencia. Creative, technically brilliant and a goal threat.
Juan-derful: Mata has made the Champions League final in his first season at Stamford Bridge
Attacking Midfielder – Salomon Kalou, 26, 6 (2)
Another rejuvenated under Roberto Di Matteo, Kalou may still leave Stamford Bridge in the summer but could play on the left in Munich as he’s been doing in the Premier League.
Forward – Daniel Sturridge, 22, 7 (0)
May start in attacking midfield in the absence of Ramires, but hasn’t scored in seven Champions’ League appearances this season.
Forward – Didier Drogba, 34, 7 (5)
Has to start after leading the line so heroically against Barca. If he stays on his feet, expect him to run himself ragged and do the old guard proud again. So hard to play against.
Final game Will the Champions League final be Didier Drogba's last game for Chelsea
Goalkeeper- Ross Turnbull, 27, 0 (0)
Cech’s regular understudy hasn’t played in the Champions’ League this season but will be there in Munich.
Defender – Paulo Ferreira, 33, 2 (0)
Has barely featured this campaign but should be on the bench with Ivanovic and Terry out.
Defender – Ryan Bertrand, 22, 0 (0)
Another without a European appearance this season, Chelsea will be hoping Luiz and Cahill are fit so there’s no chance he’ll have to break that duck in the final.
Midfielder – Michael Essien, 29, 2 (0)
Didn’t get on in Barcelona and has played just twice in the Champions’ League, struggling for form and fitness. Not the titan of old.
Back up players: Florent Malouda Michael Essien and Ryan Bertrand train ahead of the semi-final
Midfielder – Oriol Romeu, 20, 3 (0)
Hasn’t featured much recently and was never in the frame to play against his former club in the semi-final. Neat player, if nothing special, and could do a job if called upon.
Attacking Midfielder – Florent Malouda, 31, 8 (0)
Will compete with Sturridge to start. Not always a fans’ favourite, the Frenchman can be a threat from wide areas when on his game.
Forward – Fernando Torres, 28, 9 (3)
Found redemption with the late equaliser in the Nou Camp, taken with all the aplomb of his Liverpool days. Unlikely to displace Drogba, but look out for another another cameo in the final.
Finishing touch: Fernando Torres scored in the final minute
Centre Back – John Terry, 31, 8 (1)
Chelsea’s captain admitted letting everyone down after his moment of madness against Barca. So often Chelsea’s talisman, he’ll be a huge miss.
Defender – Branislav Ivanovic, 28, 10 (2)
Didn’t know he’d be missing the final, thanks to another booking, until he was told by a post-match interviewer. A regular and a strong performer at the back who won’t be easy to replace.
Missing men: Chelsea captain John Terry was sent off as Branislav Ivanovic picked up his third yellow card and they will both miss the final
Midfielder – Raul Meireles, 29, 11 (2)
Carded for a desperate lunge on Mascherano in the Nou Camp, Meireles’ unselfish shift-work in midfield will have to be done by someone else.
Midfielder – Ramires, 25, 10 (3)
Magnificent against Barcelona, his absence will arguably be felt more than Terry’s. Incredibly fit and strong, his delightful chip over Valdes showed great technique too.