If there is a cull at Chelsea, who is at risk?

Petr Cech

Chelsea are under pressure in midweek when they travel to Juventus. Here is a look at players and staff who could shoulder the blame.

The last time Chelsea lost to West Brom, it was just after their 3-1 Champions League loss to Napoli, and Andre Villas-Boas was promptly sacked.

Things are already coming full circle, seemingly, after another defeat at the Hawthorns on Saturday. Can Roberto di Matteo defy the doom and come away from Turin with at least a draw?

Defeat would leave qualification out of their hands, and leave them potentially looking at the Europa League trapdoor, a humiliating proposition for the Champions of Europe.

Roman Abramovich is said to have made it clear in no uncertain terms that defeat will not be tolerated; which leads us to wonder who may end up on the chopping board.

Di Matteo's future will of course be thrown into doubt, but he won't be the only one, its only natural the players should take the blame too.

Here is a look at six who could be at risk of being ditched, either in January or next summer.

Fernando Torres

The Spanish striker is becoming the most unpredictable player in the Premier League, and that is no good thing. When Torres fails to show up, as he did on Saturday, and earlier in the season at QPR, Chelsea are a far weaker team as a result. Speculation is constant over a January move for Falcao, and Torres could be a makeweight. The  striker is too inconsistent, but can prove himself in Turin if handed the start.

Ashley Cole

Cole is not expected to continue next summer at Chelsea, with seemingly irreconcilable differences between player and club over the length of contract he should be entitled to. Cole has been linked with PSG, and Chelsea may feel its time to hand the torch to Ryan Bertrand, and buy a new left-back as cover.

Frank Lampard

Lampard has been Chelsea's missing man of late, heavily linked with a switch to China. Arguably Chelsea's greatest player of the last decade, it appears inevitable the midfielder will move on in search of regular football and one big payday abroad, with Chelsea striving for a younger look in midfield.

Daniel Sturridge

Sturridge says he could score 20 a season for Chelsea if played as striker, and that may well be true, but it appears unlikely he will be given the sustained chance to prove it. He is wanted by a number of fellow Premier League clubs, and could be allowed to move on if Chelsea get their big striking targets.

Petr Cech

Cech could be the most surprising casualty of a Chelsea clearout next summer. The club have the exciting Thibault Courtois on loan at Atletico Madrid, and could look to bring him over to England sooner rather than later to link up with Hazard, De Bruyne and co. Chelsea would then dramatically lower the average age of their squad, and continue the evolution of their project for the next generation.

Jon Obi Mikel

Mikel has his moments, but is he the best the club can do in the centre to partner Ramires? Not if Marouane Fellaini is on the market, so if Chelsea do go in for the big-haired Belgian, Mikel's days could well be numbered.

Also moving on: Romeu, Essien, Malouda.

Do you think Chelsea will get the result needed against Juventus? What should be done with the above players at the end of the season?

image: © Ben Sutherland

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