After the 2-1 win over West London rivals QPR on Saturday, Chelsea will travel to Lyudski Vrt stadium located on the left bank of the river Drava in Maribor, Slovenia to take on the Slovenian champion NK Maribor in a reverse fixture of the Uefa champions league match played at Stamford Bridge fortnight ago.
Chelsea already top group G of the Champions League with 7 points and a win in this game will see the Blues book their ticket into the second round of the competition.
Jose Mourinho will be eager to see his team book their place into the knock-out phase of the competition as early as possible hence, will be going out with his best side.
The reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge penultimate Tuesday ended in a 6-0 win for the Blues but this could be a tricky away tie for Chelsea and they will need to go all out to get a decent result from this game. In this article, the likely line up to play Maribor.
Thibaut Courtois is expected to continue in goal after conceding a goal to QPR from their very first shot on target on the day. The goal keeping responsibilities have been shared between him and Petr Cech in recent weeks but it is the Belgian I tip to man the sticks in this game.
Petr Cech was in charge of the reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge and helped himself with a clean sheet but Mourinho has shown his clear favourite to be the young Belgian who just returned from Atletico Madrid after helping them to the Champions League final and the La Liga title. Coutois has been in good form recently and is likely to continue as Chelsea no.1 in this game.
As said earlier, Chelsea will be going out with the clear intention of sealing the qualification to the next round with a win and Mourinho will be fielding his best legs in every department I believe.
The defence is likely to have its best in Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill, John Terry, and Ceasar Azpilicueta. Azpilicueta is still suspended in the EPL but could play a part in this game in place of Filipe Luis at left back.
He could also play at his natural right back position meaning Ivanovic could be rested but I think Mourinho will likely fancy him at the left back position.
Mourinho has seemed to get his strongest personnel in midfield in Nemanja Matic, Cesc Fabregas, Willian, Oscar, and Hazard.
Fabregas and Matic have struck an understanding in the holding role behind the more attacking triplet of Willian, Oscar and Hazard.
Mourinho will look to get his midfield up as against QPR but there could also be space for Andre Schurrle and that will see Willian drop to the bench but it is the Brazilian who is likely to start after some not-too convincing display from Schurrle the last time he was called on. So, Matic, Fabregas, Willian, Oscar and Hazard will likely start in midfield.
Diego Costa has returned from injury which has kept him out from action for some weeks. He made the start against QPR.
Though his general play was good, he looked a little off the pace and Mourinho will likely give the Brazilian born Spanish striker more game time to get him into a better shape.
This sees Didier Drogba start from the bench. The Ivorian was a 15th minute substitute for injured Loic Remy in the reverse fixture. Chelsea will likely start with Costa upfront even as the 26-year old continue to seek his first champions league goal in Chelsea colours.
Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry(c), Azpilicueta.
Matic, Fabregas, Willian, Oscar, Hazard.
Sub: Cech, Zouma, Luis, Ramires, Schurrle, Drogba.