Brazilian duo Willian and David Luiz set to be dropped for crucial Premier League tie against Fulham…
Chelsea take on west-London rivals Fulham today, with Jose Mourinho desperate for a win after suffering consecutive defeats.
With the wealth of attacking midfield talent at his disposal, it is never easy to predict a Chelsea line-up, but here’s how we reckon they’ll line-up today…
Three of the back five essentially picks itself, with goalkeeper Petr Cech and fullbacks Ashley Cole and Branislav Ivanovic set to be automatic starters all season.
After he was benched for the midweek defeat to FC Basel, we expect club-captain John Terry to win his spot back in the side, replacing talented Brazilian David Luiz. Terry provides the experience and physicality needed for a tough London derby, and Gary Cahill deserves to keep his place in the team after a very solid start to the season.
Brazilian battler Ramires will replace Marco Van Ginkel in centre-midfield, after missing the Champions League defeat through suspension. He will provide the platform for his midfield partner Frank Lampard to bomb forward and arrive late on the edge of the box.
Jose Mourinho has intimated that Oscar is his first-choice no.10, and whether Chelsea fans like it or not, the Portuguese boss will remain faithful to the super-talented Brazilian ahead of last season’s best player Juan Mata. Eden Hazard will definitely start from the left, able to cut in and shoot or beat his fullback on the outside with pace and trickery. The other attacking midfield spot is up for grabs, but we expect Mourinho to drop Willian, who looked off the pace midweek, and instead play new signing Andre Schurrle. The German is more direct than Willian, and offers a better goal-threat. Mata is likely to start from the bench again, and Kevin De Bruyne will have to keep waiting for a chance.
Up-front, Mourinho has Samuel Eto’o, Demba Ba and Fernando Torres to choose from. Torres wasn’t even on the bench midweek, and Ba is definitely seen as a backup option, meaning Eto’o will probably make his third start in as many games since his move from Anzhi Makhachkala. The 32-year-old Cameroonian is yet to score for the Blues, and will be desperate to bag this evening.