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5 players top clubs should drop from their starting lineups in the Champions League

Rohith Nair
FEATURED COLUMNIST
Top 5 / Top 10
Modified 20 Dec 2019, 13:49 IST

With the Champions League knockout stages just around the corner, top teams have been trying to consolidate their positions in their respective leagues in the past two months. Most of them are also in the running for a domestic cup, especially English teams who have been kept busy in the winter months. But with European competition back on the schedule, fixtures will now come thick and fast and managers will be mindful of making sure their key players are fit for the two legs of the Round of 16 clash. At the same time, there are players who have been regulars in the lineups and must be dropped to the bench.We look at some players who deserve to start from the bench. 

#1 Chelsea - Pedro

Pedro Chelsea

Looking back to the summer transfer window, one must question why Chelsea signed Pedro for £21.4m. While fans understood his decision to leave Barcelona, what with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar preferred over anyone else in the attacking trident at the Camp Nou, joining Stamford Bridge had everyone scratching their heads. 

The Blues already had Juan Cuadrado at the time before the former Fiorentina winger was eventually farmed out to Juventus where he has thrived. With Eden Hazard making the left wing position his own, Willian consolidating the right and Oscar capable of playing across midfield, where was the need for Pedro? 

His contributions this season have shown he has performed poorly. It is not to do with only adapting to the league, but the fact that he has been unable to make use of the opportunities presented to him. The Spanish forward has taken 44 shots on goal so far and scored only 3 goals – a conversion rate of less than 7%!

For a team that plays direct football as opposed to a possession game a la Barcelona, he averages only 0.8 dribbles a game in the Champions League. In contrast, Hazard averages 3.3 dribbles while Willian averages 3.2 dribbles per game. 

Hazard is also slowly starting to make an impact despite the bad start to the season while Willian’s set-piece capabilities and tireless defensive contributions make him undroppable. The result? Pedro gets no chance to start against PSG where Chelsea’s right winger will be tasked with keeping left-back Maxwell also in check. 

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Published 10 Feb 2016, 18:17 IST
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