Chelsea made light work of Maribor a couple of weeks back as Eden Hazard stole the show in a 6-0 drubbing at Stamford Bridge. The Slovenian outfit were chasing shadows throughout the game and looked miserably out of their depth against the Premier League leaders. Maribor are only making up the numbers in this season’s competition and it would be a shock if they manage to get a result on Wednesday. Jose Mourinho will surely have one eye on the trip to Anfield on Saturday, so there might be one or two big names being rested for this fixture.
Let’s take a look at the Chelsea lineup expected to take the field on Wednesday.
The Belgian could be rested for a relatively comfortable European outing, but Jose may choose not to tinker with his first choice goalkeeper. Courtois has been excellent in recent weeks and has well and truly convinced Jose Mourinho that he is the one to take over from Petr Cech.
Ivanovic, Cahill, Zouma, Filipe Luis.
Branislav Ivanovic offers an assured option at right back, his defensive discipline combined with his attacking surges makes him one of the best right backs in the world. Gary Cahill will get no respite as he is all set to play his fifth game in two weeks, with skipper John Terry likely to be rested in favor of Kurt Zouma. The young defender has had precious few chances to impress and will be looking to make the most of some much needed game time. Filipe Luis takes his place at left back for this one.
Matic, Fabregas, Schurrle, Oscar, Hazard.
Knowing Jose and his ways, it is safe to assume that he will look to pick up all three points in this one before concentrating on the high-octane fixture at Anfield on Saturday. Matic has been a rock in front of the back four, and in a lot of people’s opinion, offers more in an attacking sense than Claude Makelele. Fabregas has the fitness to play three games in a week and should start this one. The former Barcelona man had little influence on the corresponding fixture two weeks back as Chelsea’s attacking ammunition took centre stage, but the Spaniard has all the tools to dictate the game from midfield.
Andre Schurrle could play as a false-nine, but is likely to lineup on the right wing. Schurrle’s industry and desire to get into the box and offer an option makes him a key player in Chelsea’s system. Oscar and Hazard are expected to start, although the pair may be taken off early in view of the trip to Merseyside. Hazard gave Petar Stojanovic a nightmarish time at Stamford Bridge as he was a menace all evening and things shouldn’t be any different on Wednesday. The Belgian is in the form of his life and would be eager to have another go at the Maribor defence.
Diego Costa had a quiet game against QPR, and while Didier Drogba isn’t getting any younger, the Ivorian looks fit enough to play his fourth game in a fortnight. Drogba has scored in each of his last three starts and would be licking his lips at the prospect of taking on a defence which shipped six at the Bridge.