I get the feeling Paulo Ferreira is a nice guy, but Chelsea fans have to be sick of seeing him. Whether he's at right back or in the center, whether he's playing well or getting beat, Ferreira's presence in the team is a sign that somebody's either injured, tired, or suspended. For Sunday's match at White Hart Lane, it will be the first scenario.
First choice right back José Bosingwa has been ruled out of Chelsea's match at Tottenham, having incurred a hamstring injury yesterday at the Stade Velodrome. Why was he playing in a match that meant nothing, Chelsea already having won the group? Graham MacAree gets into that. Suffice to say there was no reason save an attempt to build a struggling team's confidence. Level one of that failure: Chelsea lost. Level two of the failure: They lost a key player, hopefully for no more than one game.
With Alex already out, his knee injury forcing Branislav Invanovic into central defense, veteran Portuguese Ferreira will be called into the team, forced to make his 14th appearance of the season in the derby against Tottenham. Consider that the 31-year-old Ferreira, who made only 13 league appearances the whole of last season, is likely to exceed that make on Sunday, when he'll be opposite Gareth Bale. I would offer sliding Micheal Essien to right back temporarily, but until somebody finds Frank Lampard (which might happen by Sunday) or fast forwards Ramires's career 12 months, Chelsea's midfield's in worse shape than their defense.
While Bosingwa hasn't looked his normal self since being injured early last year, his style of play is still critical to Chelsea's approach. For a team that plays a narrow, three man midfield, the width provided by Ashley Cole and Bosingwa is what prevents opponents from overloading the middle of the park, combating Chelsea's individual superiority with numbers. Even when Ivanovic plays right back, as he did for the bulk of last season, Chelsea is notably less dynamic than when their pseudo wing back is on the right.
On Sunday, Ivanovic will be in the middle and Bosingwa will be in a suit. And for Chelsea fans, the longest fall of recent memory will continue to drag on.