Our next match sees us face another top club as we make our way to London to play the current European Champions, Chelsea.
Away games at the top clubs have never been a particularly pleasant experience since our return to the top flight, but I find myself more optimistic before our trip to Stamford Bridge given our recent performances. That’s not to suggest I think we will win, that would be a bonus, but I’m talking about us actually competing and giving Chelsea a proper game and whilst we’re at it, using the ball more positively with our new look shape.
The new shape is perfect for such a game and indeed Pulis has tried something different on our last two visits and whilst the players in those games looked most uncomfortable, our current incumbents should fare better. The news of Wilko’s ban comes at quite a good time in my eyes, he’s not had the best start to a season and given we seem to have found an excellent middle three in Whelan, N’Zonzi and Adam we could well see another new recruit, Cameron, given a chance at right back.
I’ve been very impressed with the composure, versatility and tenacity of our American recruit and after his showing at right back against Wigan I’m more than happy to see him take up that position in the absence of Wilko – I expect it will be a flat back four but if not I’d be equally happy with him as a wing back as part of a five. Cameron has made the most tackles in the league this season and not given away one free kick and his versatility witnessed to date would suggest that ‘filling in’ for Wilko should not be too great a stretch.
There has been a lot of talk this week of Owen making his full debut but I’m cautious to predict this will happen on Saturday. That said, if he DID start, I would expect that it would be as part of a more orthodox front two with five at the back, though whether or not Pulis feels Owen is ready to start is another question entirely.
Cameron – Shawcross – Huth – Wilson
Walters – Whelan – Adam – N’Zonzi – Kightly
Score Prediction – 1-1 Draw with another Crouch goal from an Adam set piece.
Vis Unita Fortior