Chelsea welcome Schalke on Wednesday evening to kickstart the 2014-15 Champions League campaign in a bid to go a couple of steps better after their defeat to Atletico Madrid in the semifinals last season. Jose Mourinho must be quietly confident of starting their European journey on a winning note after the visitors Schalke suffered a 4-1 defeat at the weekend to Borussia Mönchengladbach, making it their worst start to a Bundesliga campaign in 46 years.
With one eye on the trip to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, Jose Mourinho would have one or two selection dilemmas to keep him worried before he picks his team to face the Royal Blues tonight. Let’s put ourselves in Mourinho’s shoes and pick the Chelsea Lineup to face Schalke.
Thibaut Courtois has been impressive since making his Chelsea debut against Burnley, and seems to have cemented himself as Jose’s No.1 goalkeeper. But Petr Cech is likely to get his opportunities in the cup competitions and should start this one.
Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill, John Terry, Filipe Luis.
Branislav Ivanovic should start at right back, given his fine form in defence and attack. Gary Cahill and John Terry have shipped five goals in two matches, but remain Chelsea’s first choice central defensive partnership. The Champions League tie should represent an opportunity to give Filipe Luis a chance in place of Cesar Azpilicueta in a bid to see how a natural left back can add to the dynamic of the side. Azpilicueta has been ever present for the Blues this season, and could get a much deserved rest.
Nemanja Matic, Cesc Fabregas, Eden Hazard, Willian, Andre Schurrle.
Nemanja Matic’s addition to the side has added that much needed balance to Chelsea, allowing Cesc Fabregas’s creativity to flourish in a 2-man midfield. Matic was cup-tied after signing from Benfica in January and his play-breaking abilities and composure in the middle of the park fits in perfectly with Mourinho’s idea of a holding midfielder. Cesc Fabregas has started the season with 6 assists in 4 games, all 6 for Diego Costa, and would be looking to continue his fine form against the Germans.
The attacking midfield trio of Willian, Eden Hazard and Andre Schurrle will look to run riot on Wednesday evening as Oscar is all set to get the night off with Hazard in his No.10 role.
If fit, Diego Costa should start and look to continue his red hot form after netting 7 times in 4 matches, including a hattrick against Swansea City at the weekend. Mourinho confirmed that Costa has been playing through pain and that could open the door for new recruit Loic Remy who scored on his debut at the weekend.