Torres set to replace Eto’o up top, with De Bruyne selected over Mata…
Chelsea predicted line-up:
Chelsea welcome Swiss side FC Basel, the side they beat in last year’s Europa League semi-final, to Stamford Bridge for the Champions League opener.
Jose Mourinho will be desperate for a positive result, after the 1-0 defeat to Everton at the weekend cemented the Blues start to a Premier League season since Roman Abramovich took over.
With Schalke and Steaua Bucharest making up the rest of the group, Chelsea have a very good chance of progressing as group winners, but will need to get off to the best possible start in order to do so.
Chelsea’s first-choice back five is as good as anything else in European football right now. Petr Cech is unflappable between the sticks, and Ashley Cole and Branislav Ivanovic provide ultra-solid fullback options, who are both capable of getting involved with attacks further up the field. Gary Cahill has dislodged John Terry as David Luiz’s first-choice centre-back partner, too. The England man been in top form for club and country this season, and Terry will have to watch on from the bench on Wednesday evening once again.
Brazilian dynamo Ramires has established himself as Mourinho’s first-choice holding midfielder ahead of John Obi Mikel, but is suspended for this tie and Mikel will likely take his place – providing the platform from which Chelsea’s brilliant attackers can perform. Effervescent Frank Lampard will start alongside him, and will be given freedom to roam further forward and arrive late on the edge of the box.
Mourinho has intimated that Kevin De Bruyne will play for the Blues, meaning Juan Mata will once again start the game from the bench. The Spaniard was hauled off after 56 minutes in the defeat to Everton, and it’s becoming increasingly clear that Mourinho plainly doesn’t trust him because of his inability to track back and defend.
Eden Hazard is Mourinho’s first-choice attacking outlet, and will start from the left. He is able to cut in and shoot, link up with the midfielders, or take the fullback down the line thanks to his blistering pace. Young Brazilian Oscar will continue in the no.10 role which maxmises his brilliant creative ability. Oscar scored a wonderful goal against Juventus in the Champions League group stages last year, which announced his arrival on the world stage. He can dictate attacks and play intricate through-balls to the onrushing forward, which we expect will be Fernando Torres.
Samuel Eto’o endured a poor debut at the weekend, and at 32-years-old, he may not be capable of playing too many games in quick succession. Torres on the other hand was very good in Europe last year, where he scored the majority of his goals, and already bagged one in the Super Cup defeat to Bayern Munich earlier this season