Action returns in the Champions League today with Chelsea facing Maccabi Tel Aviv in the 5th round of group games of the European competition. Having defeated the Israeli side in the first leg and first game of the UEFA season, repeating the feat won’t be hard to come by, but they will have to do it without 2 of their key players as it has been confirmed that the duo of Radamel Falcao and Thibaut Courtois didn’t travel with the squad to Israel for the game, making them automatically unavailable for selection.
Despite their absence, the coach still has a lot of options to select from and could even have difficulty selecting his starting lineup and substitutes. Mourinho is likely to be torn between wrapping up qualification for the Champions League next rounds early enough or placing higher priority on the next home League game against Tottenham.
Whichever he decides will reflect on the final starting lineup. The Blues are currently 2nd on the table behind Porto, but a win from today’s game will take them to the top position and move them to just 1 point away from qualification if Porto fail to win.
In the absence of Falcao, Remy is likely to lead the attack if the coach chooses to rest Costa ahead of weekend’s clash. Falcao has been out of action since Liverpool’s thrashing of the Blues after he picked up a muscular knock. But he is expected to return to full fitness soon. Courtois however has returned to squad training, but still not fully fit.
He picked up a knee injury during training in September and has been ruled out since. The Belgian brilliant shot stopper is set to return by December and is likely to make his return in the game against newly-promoted Bournemouth.