Apr 242015
 

Dominic-Solanke-Chelsea-526041

Teenage starlet, Dom Solanke, could make his Chelsea debut this Sunday at the Emirates. With Diego Costa and Loïc Rémy doubtful for the clash, and Didier Drogba caring for an ankle injury, Solanke would be Mourinho’s next option.

Solanke scored 19 goals for Chelsea’s youth squad this season, and was also named England’s Young Player of the Year. Solanke has been in the Chelsea system since 2004 (first playing for the Chelsea under-8’s), and is sure to be drooling for a first-team opportunity. Solanke certainly has the talent to play in the Chelsea first team in the future; the only question is if he is ready for Arsenal.

Didier Drogba is available for Sunday, according to Mourinho, but he sat Solanke out of the U-21 game yesterday to keep him fresh in case he was needed against Arsenal. Mourinho has called Solanke and other teenage striker, Izzy Brown, up to the first team squad for training this year. Solanke was also an unused substitute against Manchester United, showing Mourinho’s belief in his ability.

Will we finally see a home-grown teenager make his way into the first-team this weekend? Probably not. Didier Drogba will surely get the start, and Solanke will certainly be on the bench, and possibly get to come on as a substitute if anything were to happen to Didier.

Solanke was actually recently pulled up to train with the first-team English side last month, giving him more experience against world-class defenders. Solanke is the popular choice over Didier Drogba, especially after Drogba’s sub-par performance last weekend against Manchester United.  Drogba committed three fouls, resulting in a yellow card, only a 48% pass completion percentage, and took only two shots, which were both off –target.  Didier is not the same striker he was five years ago, and Chelsea should look to replace him either through the transfer market or from promoting youth stars. Dom Solanke certainly faces a tough opposition in replacing Drogba, with Chelsea being linked to other forwards, Mauro Icardi, Douglas Costa, Paulo Dybala, and the imminent signing of Brazilian sensation Nathan. Not to mention Patrick Bamford, who is on loan at Middlesbrough, has won the Championship Player of the Year, leading Boro to promotion into the Premier League next season.

 

 Posted by at 2:51 pm
Apr 152015
 

Manchester United vs Chelsea

This Saturday will see Manchester United take on Chelsea. Manchester United, arguably the team with the biggest fan-base and legacy in the footballing world will meet Chelsea – the leaders of the new era of footballing greats. This is a fixture that in the past would see Chelsea punching above their weight as they took on the global titans Manchester United. It’s all different now. We mustn’t deny that after a certain change in the millennia, Chelsea’s luck took a change for the better and when we passed ‘Go’ in 2004 and collected our pocket money we too have become global giants. This season’s home tie is a fixture with renewed poignancy after 2013-14 saw Manchester United knocked off their pedestal, failed to qualify for the Champions League and arguably left without an identity after the big loss of legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson. This season they are back and ready to challenge for titles, eager to show themselves to be the real leaders of the English game once more.

As a Chelsea fan, you have to remain optimistic. We are top of the Premier League with only two league losses to our name this season. We play Manchester United on our own soil – Stamford Bridge – which seems to have magical properties and we are a far more confident side playing at home. When we went to Old Trafford earlier in the campaign we were left disappointed, Branislav Ivanovic was sent off in the 92nd minute resulting in a late 93rd minute Robin van Persie goal seeing us take just one point from the game. But we have to think differently, we are now challenging for a title and every single game takes us one step closer to lifting the Premier League trophy. Jose Mourinho’s workings out factor in two games we can draw and to win the league we can even lose a game or two.

I believe Jose will set us up in this game for us to draw, as he always does in these big clashes. But we are Chelsea, and we have the means to win this game without defensive mind-games. Here are five reasons why we can see off Manchester United this Saturday.

1) Student meets master

Ah, the age old proverb (from somewhere or other) in that you should never teach somebody everything you know. Jose Mourinho would be brilliant at anything he did, but without Louis van Gaal’s education and watchful eye he would not be one of the best football managers in the world. With van Gaal nearing retirement and Mourinho at the top of his game, it will be interesting to see how the two masters of mind-games set up against each other in Saturday’s clash and who comes out on top. Plus, Jose never had to get his testicles out to get his team to listen to him.

2) Loïc Remy

With 5 Premier League goals already under his belt this season, Loïc Remy could be our saving grace. Having spent a lot of this season on the bench due to injury and the form of Diego Costa, he is now match-fit and ready to take centre stage. Could Remy help us to beat our northern rivals?

3) Thibaut Courtois

It goes without saying that Courtois is one of the best goalkeepers in the world right now. We also have Petr Cech on the bench, who would still fit in most people’s top ten lists. To have such a talented goalkeeping duo ready to interchange whenever needs be is rare in football. Courtois has been responsible for some spectacular saves this season and I’m sure without him we would not have won so many games. He has been a pleasure to watch, and although his United counterpart David De Gea is also in good form, Courtois is a rising star.

4) Stamford Bridge

The holy grail of home turf, having seen just one Premier League loss since the start of the 2013-14 season is about to be tested. With such great stats it is hard to doubt Chelsea will win, but we have to be pragmatic and look at what great form Manchester United are in. It will be a hard battle but I believe Chelsea will come out on top.

5) League Title

We are so close to winning the Premier League! If this isn’t enough to drive our players through then I don’t know what is. Sure, our points total can handle a draw or even a loss, but a win against Manchester United is not only prestigious but pivotal in winning the league before the season is over.

Only time can tell what the result will be. The fact that it is Manchester United we are facing is a delight for the press, but we need ignore the pressure. We must see it as simply a fixture worth three points, and move on to the next game.

Follow the author on Twitter @ellenrosemariex

 Posted by at 4:00 pm
Feb 112015
 

Chelsea start the midweek fixtures with a 7-point lead in the Premier League table and face bottom half opponents in Everton after a thrilling game at Goodison Park earlier this season.

José Mourinho will be confident in scoring against the Toffees after netting six against them back in August but will want to improve the defensive display from that day having conceded three goals.

Everton held Liverpool to a goalless draw at home on Saturday but are six points outside the top half heading into the final 14 games of the season.

A midweek fixture usually means that more Chelsea tickets are available through ticket brokers, so you should grab these opportunities to watch your team live if you haven’t in recent weeks.

Team News

Chelsea

Diego Costa serves the final game of his three-game suspension whilst John Obi Mikel is the only injury to Mourinho.

Everton

Leighton Baines missed the Merseyside derby with a knee injury and is a doubt for this one. Bryan Oviedo could hold his place at left-back if the England international does not recover.

Leon Osman, Steven Pienaar and Aidan McGeady are all ruled out through injury; Christian Atsu is ineligible to face his parent club and is only just getting back from the African Cup of Nations anyway. James McCarthy is a slight doubt with a hamstring strain.

Predicted Line-ups

Gary Cahill returned to replace Kurt Zouma at Aston Villa so perhaps he’s back in Mourinho’s good books after spending a couple of games on the subs bench. Cesc Fàbregas returns in the centre of midfield to partner Nemanja Matić despite the manager singing the praises of Ramires earlier this week. Didier Drogba started at Villa Park so Loïc Rémy should be in midweek.

If Leighton Baines is fit to return then he will likely come in at left-back. Everton haven’t been too good in protecting Joel Robles, and previously Tim Howard (when fit) this season but they did keep a clean sheet versus Liverpool on Saturday. Aaron Lennon could make his first start for the Toffees after playing half hour as a substitute at the weekend.

Key Matchups

Eden Hazard vs Séamus Coleman

Eden Hazard has been one of the best players in the Premier League this season and most of his best performances have come at Stamford Bridge. Everton’s right-back Séamus Coleman could be in for a long game then. Gareth Barry is overrated when it comes to protecting his defence and this may be a game he will get exposed by Hazard.

Oscar vs Gareth Barry

Expecting José Mourinho to name both Oscar and Cesc Fàbregas in his starting line-up to take the game to Everton, Oscar should play behind the striker. The Brazilian is having a good season, getting himself into the penalty area and goal scoring positions, and creating several chances for teammates. Barry and Muhamed Bešić will have a difficult time in picking up Oscar for 90 minutes, especially when Hazard is moving into the middle and Fàbregas is pushing forward too.

Branislav Ivanović vs Leighton Baines

Predicting Chelsea to spend most of the time in Everton’s half you can be sure to see Branislav Ivanović bombing on from right-back. The Serbian has been involved in six goals this season (3 goals, 3 assists) and has a favourable match-up at Stamford Bridge. Leighton Baines likes to bomb forward and isn’t the greatest defender. Partnering up with Willian, and perhaps later in the game, Juan Cuadrado, Ivanović should be able to get beyond Baines and get him in position to create chances for teammates or even get on the score sheet once more himself.

Prediction: Chelsea 3-1 Everton

Everton defended well versus Liverpool but we’re not confident they will do the same thing twice in four days based on their performances this season. Chelsea has too much talent and creativity for the likes of Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines to shut out the Premier League leaders. Defensively the Blues haven’t been watertight of late so we wouldn’t be surprised if the visitors get on the score sheet.

 Posted by at 12:12 pm
Dec 132014
 

After showing vulnerability against Newcastle last weekend against Newcastle, Chelsea would try to redeem their image as they welcome Hull City to Stamford Bridge. The midweek European tie against Sporting saw Chelsea not only return to winning ways but also rest a number of key players in regards to the league game. Chelsea would hope there would be no European hangovers as they face the Tigers.

Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois is reported to have suffered a minor muscular injury meaning Petr Cech could be ready to start a second game in a row. Cesc Fabregas is the latest Chelsea player to miss a league game due to suspension as Nemanja Matic returns to the fold.

Hull City’s Nikica Jelavic is available for selection after returning from illness and Uruguayan Gaston Ramirez is back from a three game suspension after his challenge on Tottenham’s Jan Verthogen.

The Tigers have never won at Stamford Bridge and it looks like an unlikely time to have that historic victory. Hull City has just won two league games since their FA Cup semi-final win earlier this year. The latest additions to the pack haven’t made Hull better than last season according to Steve Bruce.

Hull are 18th on the league table while Chelsea are top of the table with a three point lead over Man. City, Hull can hope to spoil the party but in addition get a valuable point from the Bridge while Chelsea would want to return to winning ways and not loose anymore points.

Key Players

Nemanja Matic was a huge miss for Chelsea when they played against Newcastle; the towering Serbian returns to the line-up to prevent causalities as Chelsea are yet to lose a game this season with Matic in the line-up. Top scorer Diego Costa has been on a goal drought for four games and would be looking to put an end to that abnormality.

Hull’s goalkeeper, Allan McGregor would be a very busy man for the Tigers as they face Chelsea, it’s a tough ask but we’ve seen goalkeepers single handily win points for clubs this season. In addition to that there’s also the threat of the pace of Sone Aluko upfront and the talent of Abel Hernandez to deal with.

The Stats

Chelsea has only suffered one defeat since the start of this season, and their first in 18 Premier League games.

Chelsea has won all their League games at Stamford Bridge this season, seven in seven.

The Blues have kept 12 clean sheets in their last 15.

Hull City has won just once in their last 14 league games.

The Tigers have scored just two goals in their seven Premier League games.

Should Allan McGregor save another penalty against Chelsea, it would be the first time a goalkeeper has ever saved four consecutive penalties in the league.

 Posted by at 10:22 am
Dec 062014
 

Newcastle was once on a fiery streak but that came to an end when they visited fellow Londoners, West Ham. A draw against the Burnley after the West Ham game shows Newcastle might now be back from that short sprint in wonderland, when they collected all 15 points from five consecutive league matches, four clean sheets and knocking out Manchester City from the league Cup in the process as well. After collecting just a point in their last two games, December does looks like a good time for Jose Mourinho and Chelsea to step in considering Newcastle’s previous month.

Unlike Newcastle who had a spark in form just last month, Chelsea has looked in form all season long. The Blues are undefeated in all league games this season and pundits and bookmakers are already labelling them potential invincibles, although Jose Mourinho has played down that fact by stating that his side will still lose games because they play to win, Chelsea would be hoping not to drop any more points on the road at the moment like they did at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland, as Manchester City are fast approaching in second place.

Loic Remy returns to the familiar ground where he played his football last season on loan from QPR, Remy scored 14 goals in 26 league games for the Magpies, one of those goals was against Chelsea in this same fixture, he should be given a warm reception by the Newcastle faithful’s should he be involved in the game at any time. Diego Costa is back from suspension, his absence was barely missed as Chelsea ran riot on Spurs in the midweek and Gary Cahill is done nursing a concussion and should be cleared to play while Nemanja Matic is the only confirmed absentee as he picked his fifth yellow card of the season in the previous game.

Newcastle also have a pair returning from suspension, Moussa Sissoko and Jack Colback are both back from suspension and Sissoko might wear the armband for the Magpies again as Fabricio Coloccini is still with a calf injury.

Key Players

Newcastle’s Moussa Sissoko is back from suspension and is the engine room for Alan Pardew’s rejuvenated side; his presence was definitely missed in the game against Burnley. Also Pappis Cisse was one of the pioneers in silencing Pardew’s critics, Cisse is Newcastle’s top scorer with 5 goals, he once scored a devastating brace against Chelsea in his first spell for the club.

Diego Costa also returns from suspension and is usually the headliner for Chelsea’s league victories, the Spaniard would be looking to continue from where he stopped as regards to doing just that. Cesc Fabregas has gone without an assist in his last two games and with Costa back it could be the usual ‘Costa goal, Fab assists’ situation.

The Stats

Newcastle is unbeaten in five home games, since their opening day defeat to Man City.

The Magpies are also on a three game unbeaten streak at home with three clean sheets kept as well.

Chelsea can set a new club record of 24 matches unbeaten in all competitions by avoiding defeat against the Toons.

The Blues have kept just one clean sheet in seven away league games.

Head to Head

Newcastle has won their last two home games vs. Chelsea.

Alan Pardew has won once against Jose Mourinho in the Premier League, having lost five times to the Special one.

 Posted by at 9:46 am
Dec 062014
 

After an uncharacteristic bore draw between us and Sunderland, Chelsea returned to winning ways against Spurs. A 3-0 demolishing even without top scorer Diego Costa showed our strength and what we can usually do and also expresses the fact that the draw against the Black cats on Saturday was just a minor blip on the path to hopeful Premier League glory.

Chelsea were unchanged as the same selection that played the last three games were in the line-up except upfront where Didier Drogba was selected ahead of Loic Remy due to Costa’s suspension. The big Ivorian didn’t disappoint after being given the nod, like we are used to. Drogba set up Eden Hazard with a remarkable back heel to assist the Belgian who fired past the Spurs goalkeeper at the near post, 1-0 Chelsea.

Three minutes later it was all Chelsea again, Hazard this time the provider as Drogba muscled his way past Spurs Vertonghen to poke the ball over Hugo Lloris for 2-0. Drogba soon came off for Remy in the second half and the French man made a good introduction getting into the game. After receiving a good pass from Cesar Azpilicueta he did brilliantly to cut into his right foot from his left, leaving Vertonghen, once again, flat footed before slotting it calmly into the net. Hugo Lloris the Spurs keeper had no chance as he was routed to the spot.

However there were a few negatives from the game. Nemanja Matic received a fifth yellow card and would be suspended for the next game against Newcastle, away while Gary Cahill was replaced after a collision with Spurs striker, Harry Kane. The defender might be in doubt for the next game but otherwise the team is fine.

The clean sheet is a fourth successive one and the points mean we are still six points ahead of City. Hazard scored his seventh of the season and Drogba with his fifth. The victory also meant we haven’t still lost at home to Spurs since Gary Lineker’s goal in 1990 and also with that win we have equaled our club record of 23 games unbeaten in 2007, we also equalled it in 2009.

With Manchester City’s 3-1 4-1 demolishing of Sunderland they are still very much on the prowl to defend their title, there were wins for Arsenal and Man.Utd as well as Liverpool over the midweek but none of them pose a threat as much as City at the moment. Southampton lose again and look like they would drop from the top 4, it could be the usual culprits going to Europe again next year but as for who wins the title it still looks Chelsea bound, until Newcastle away, top of the league. Come on Chelsea!

 Posted by at 9:42 am
Dec 032014
 

The Game

Chelsea looked invisible until their clash with Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, so it wasn’t a loss but the Sunderland team stopped Chelsea from scoring for the first time this season and there were hints to the probability that there’s still a way to beat this Chelsea team who are still without a loss.

Tottenham come into the matchup with some kind of confidence from their last game. A feisty 2-1 victory over Everton saw Spurs climb to 7th position on the league table, level with bitter rivals, Arsenal and just two points of fourth place occupied by Man.Utd, making them have a hint of belief that maybe there’s still hope to make it into the top four once again.

Key Players

Chelsea are without Diego Costa after the Spaniard picked up his fifth yellow card against Sunderland, the Blues would have to look up to Didier Drogba or Loic Remy ahead of the Spurs fixture, however with Costa out the key man status shifts to Cesc Fabregas. Fabregas has been a revelation at Chelsea since his arrival and has fit perfectly to the blue jigsaw, assisting 10 goals in 13 league games.

As for Tottenham, their key man is also a midfielder. Christian Eriksen has scored two in his last two league games and like last season he looks to be the brightest of the Spurs pack. No player has created more chances this season that Eriksen for Spurs, the Danish playmaker has created 25 chances for them this season.

The Stats

Chelsea is undefeated this season in all competitions (W15, D5).

Their last league defeat came on 19 April – a 2-1 home reverses against Sunderland.

Chelsea has won 28 of their last 34 home league games (D5, L1).

Chelsea haven’t lost against Tottenham Hotspur in their last nine matches in all competitions

Didier Drogba has scored three goals and assisted four more in his last eight league games against Spurs.

Tottenham have not registered a single win at Stamford Bridge in any competition since February 1990 when Gary Lineker scored the winning goal in a 2-1 win (W0 D10 L17).

Tottenham Hotspur’s last five games in the Premier League have finished with a 2-1 score line.

Tottenham have lost just one of their last six Premier League away games (W3, D2).

They have won three of their last four league games, losing the other.

Spurs and Chelsea have both won the most points from losing positions in the league this season, both nine.

Only Yaya Toure (14) and Steven Gerrard (12) have scored more Premier League goals from midfield in 2014 than Christian Eriksen (11).

Roberto Soldado ended a run of 627 minutes without a league goal against Everton on Sunday.

Chelsea Likely Line Up

Courthois

Azpilicueta Cahill Terry Ivanonic

Matic

Fabregas Oscar

Hazard Willian

Remy

Head to Head

Tottenham have never won a game at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League. Drawing 8 and Losing 14.

Last Four League Meetings:

08 Mar 2014 Chelsea 4 – 0 Tottenham

28 Sep 2013 Tottenham 1 – 1 Chelsea

08 May 2013 Chelsea 2 – 2 Tottenham

20 Oct 2012 Tottenham2 – 4 Chelsea

Verdict

It’s obvious from all the stats Spurs always have a hard time at Stamford Bridge. Jose Mourinho doesn’t seem like the type to have two back to back draws. A Chelsea victory is on the cards for this one, as Spurs running away with any point at all from this game shows Chelsea might not be as potentially invisible as we think.

 Posted by at 12:51 pm
Dec 022014
 

It’s that time of the season when games are coming thick and fast. Chelsea continues with action in the league after a disappointing barren draw at the Stadium of Light against Sunderland over the weekend.

It will mark the first time the club failed to register a goal in a competitive match this season and Jose Mourinho will look forward to getting his boys back on track even as the most hectic period of the season beckons.

Chelsea squads up against Tottenham Hotspurs in one of the many London derbies of the season and it will be the first time Mauricio Pochettino will be facing Chelsea as Spurs manager.

Jose Mourinho will be keen to get all three points from this game hence, will look to fresh-up his team bearing in mind suspensions and fatigue on the part of his players. We take a look at the possible changes Mourinho could make to the side to face Tottenham.

Cech for Courtois.

Jose Mourinho could hand Petr Cech his first league start of the season against Tottenham Hotspur.  Cech has not started any league game this season with his only appearance being an early substitute against Arsenal after Courtois was injured.

He has however started some Champions league games and did put up an impressive showing in those games but Mourinho has seemed to prefer Thibaut Courtois in goal in league matches.

With many games to play over the course of this Christmas season, Mourinho may rest the young Belgian while handing Cech his first league start in this game.

Cech’s lack of regular action has seen him linked to host of top European clubs but Chelsea have come out to state they are not entertaining any offer for their veteran keeper. Giving the Czech a run of action in the league may be one way to convince the player he is still valued at the club and Mourinho could use the Spurs’ game as it is always a big game that every player will want to be involved.

Luis for Azpilicueta.

Cesar Azpilicueta has made the left full back his own and rightfully so, as the 25-year-old Spaniard has been one of the top performer for the club this season even though being played out of his natural position.

Jose Mourinho could however, hand Filipe Luis a start at left back against Spurs. This will see Azpilicuelta dropped to the bench or moved to right back with Ivanovic who has played virtually all of Chelsea’s games this season given a rest.

Luis attacking prowess down the flank could come handy for Chelsea especially with Diego Costa not playing. Mourinho will need players who can give the team a more attacking dimension from behind and Luis offers that with greater effect than Azpilicueta.

Mourinho may also rest Branislav Ivanovic who has played majority of Chelsea’s games this season. This will see Azpilicueta revert to his natural right back position.

Loic Remy for Costa.

Diego Costa got his fifth booking of the season against Sunderland on Saturday when it appeared he caught Wes Brown’s face with his arm. This means he will miss the Tottenham game.

Loic Remy could be the possible replacement for the suspended Spaniard in the line-up. Remy has not started a game for Chelsea since pulling a groin injury in the Champions league game against NK Maribor seconds after scoring the first goal.

He has however, showed his good qualities anytime he has been called upon to play either as a substitute or a starter. Jose Mourinho could hand him another start ahead of Didier Drogba who also has been doing fine as a substitute for the club this season.

Drogba due to age may not be able to play the full 90minute hence, a start for Remy is likely while Drogba could come in as a substitute at some point in the game.

 Posted by at 1:48 pm
Oct 282014
 

After a pulsating 1-1 draw with Manchester United on Sunday, Jose Mourinho and his player will have no time to ponder on the 92nd minute capitulation that saw Robin Van Persie salvage an unmerited one point for Manchester United as the team travel to New Meadows to face league 2 side Shrewsbury Town in the fifth round of the Capital one cup tonight.

As expected, Jose Mourinho will ring some changes to the team bearing in mind the level of opponent and the fact that the club have barely had a day of rest after the Old Trafford trip.

Quite a number of the players that played at Old Trafford will need to sit out this game to allow them time to recover. With some players suspended and the fear of picking up further injuries, Mourinho will look to give some of his fringe players who have played a bit part in the campaign chance to once again prove that they can be useful to the team.

Some academy and U-21 players could also be involved in this game, so we look at the likely changes Jose Mourinho could make to the team to face Shrewsbury.

In Goal:

Thibaut Courtois was magnificent in goal against Manchester United on Sunday pulling off several saves but could be dropped to the bench for Petr Cech who was in goal in the fourth round against Bolton Wanderers.

This is an easy decision for Jose to make as he’s keen to give adequate game time to the two world class keepers. So, Cech returns in goal after having a clean sheet in his last outing against NK Maribor in the Champion’s League a week ago.

In Defence

Branislav Ivanovic and Ceasar Azpilicueta will miss out due to suspensions leaving John Terry and Cahill as the senior regulars in defence. In the fourth round game against Bolton, Mourinho had partnered Cahill and Kurt Zouma and will look to continue with the pair in central defence. John Terry will be expected to miss this game as it will come too early for the 34-year-old after playing all 90minutes against Maribor and Manchester United within the space of five days.

Filipe Luis in the absence of Azpilicueta will get his first three consecutive starts in a Chelsea shirt at left back. Mourinho will however have a serious decision to make on who takes the right full back spot.

U-21 right back Todd Kane could get his chance at senior level tonight while centre back Andre Christensen could also play in the position.

In Midfield:

Mourinho will look to give majority of the regulars in midfield some time off and this could mean a number of starts for new faces. John Obi Mikel will take the place of Nemanja Matic in the DM position, while Fabregas could be rested for Nathan Ake who capped his introduction in the Maribor game with a wonderful assist for Hazard’s second goal.

Willian will start this one alongside Oscar behind the striker but Eden Hazard looks the man to be rested by Jose Mourinho. This will give Mohammed Salah a chance to stake a spot on either of the attacking flanks. Ramires is not fully recovered and there won’t be need rushing him back for this game.

In Attack:

Chelsea is currently having an injury crisis in the attacking department. Diego Costa and Loic Remy have missed the last two games due to injuries. In their absence Didier Drogba has put up a decent performance scoring two goals in the process but there is no denying that he is no longer the deadly finisher we used to know.

Against a youthful Shrewsbury side, Drogba could be given a rest. He played all 90minute against United and by his age it is yet to be seen how good he will be able to recover to play two games under 48hours.

There was suggestion Mourinho could play Andre Schurrle as a false striker against Manchester United but that did not come to be. I think it is in this game that Mourinho will look to explore his option of having Schurrle as his striker again after he tried the German in the same position at Old Trafford last season.

So, expect Andre Schurrle to play as a striker tonight against Srhewsbury while Drogba takes a place in the bench.

Chelsea’s Probable Line-up

  • Cech•Kane, Cahill, Zouma, Luis• Mikel, Ake• Salah, Oscar, Willian• Schurrle

Sub: Courtios, Terry, Christensen, Fabregas, Matic, Drogba.

 Posted by at 1:28 pm
Sep 292014
 

After a comfortable win at Aston Villa over the weekend in the league game, Chelsea travels to the Alvalade stadium in Lisbon to face Sporting CP. Chelsea and Sporting Lisbon will look to pick their first three points in the Champions League after a less-than impressive performance saw the two teams picking up just a point in a 1-1 draw in match day one of the Uefa champions league 2014/2015 season against Schalke 04 and Maribor respectively, hence, the more important it becomes for both manager to unleash the best of their arsenal come Tuesday night.

Sporting manager Marco Silva will fancy going with the side that drew one all with FC Porto in the Portuguese Liga ZON Sagres with Rui Patricio in goal and the quartet of Mauricio, Mahamadou-Naby Sarr, Jonathan Cristian Silva and Cedric Soares holding down their place in the back four. William Carvalho will continue as the team’s Central defensive midfielder alongside Joao Mario and Adrien Silva. Nani, Andre Carrilo and Islam Slimani will complete the attacking trio upfront though its likely Carrilo loses his place to Diego Chapel after his not-too-impressive showing against FC Porto at the weekend.

There could also be a place for Fredy Montero and Carlos Mane in the line-up especially if the manager decides to go all attacking in so as to get a result against a decent Chelsea side.

Mourinho on his part will be left with a hard decision to make as regarding his likely line-up bearing in mind the London derby against Arsenal on Sunday. Thibaut Courtois will likely keep his place in between the sticks in place of the experienced and trusted Petr Cech. More so, because he had a clean sheet against Aston Villa his second after returning from his loan spell at Atletico Madrid.

The back four of Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry(C), and Azpilicueta will keep their place except for Azpilicueta who will likely make way for Luiz at left back.

With Ramires continuing his recovery from injury, Fabregas will look to partner Nemanja Matic in the central midfield position with Willian, Oscar and Hazard taking their place behind the lone striker. I expect Hazard to start irrespective of the poor game he had at Villa Park though André Schürrle could take Willians position leaving the Brazilian on the bench while his compatriot-Oscar will clearly get the nod as he has been impressive in his last two starts against Bolton and Aston Villa.

Who takes up the lone striker role will depend on what gamble and risk Mourinho is willing to entertain. Chelsea new boy- Diego Costa will be favourite but with reports he cannot start three games in a week due his hamstring making the round, it’s unlikely. Loic Remy looks the best bet to take up his position as many Chelsea fan will not want to entertain the idea of club legend- Didier Drogba repeating his insipid performance against Schalke04 a fortnight ago.

It is still expected though, that Diego Costa overcomes his hoodoo hamstring and makes the line-up.

Probable Line-up:

For Sporting CP:

  • Rui Patricio, Mauricio, Mahamadou-Naby, Cristian, Cedric, Willian, Joao, Adrien, Nani, Carrilo, Slimani.

For Chelsea:

  • Courtois, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Luis, Matic, Fabregas, Willian, Hazard, Schurrle, Costa.

What is your expected line-up?

 Posted by at 6:29 pm