In the wake of injuries, suspensions and fatigue, we have the interesting task to predict the starting line-up of football teams during the business end of the season. It becomes all the more exciting when we have to predict Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea’s starting line-up against Atletico Madrid for the UEFA Champions League Semi Final second leg, which happens to be the decider.
Here is my predicted Chelsea Line Up:
Goalkeeper: Mark Schwarzer
Injury to Petr Cech in the first leg against Atletico Madrid has ruled the Czech international goalkeeper out for the rest of the season. This has led Chelsea to utilise the 41 year old veteran understudy Mark Schwarzer to the maximum in the past three games. Schwarzer gave a very good performance against Liverpool, much needed to boost his confidence ahead of this crucial fixture.
Right Back: Branislav Ivanovic
The Serb was excellent against Liverpool playing the central position. Having missed the first leg due to suspension, Ivanovic got an unlikely break in a busy schedule and playing a less energy-draining centre back position on Sunday means the Serb will definitely start at Right Back.
Right Centre Back: Gary Cahill
Gary Cahill was on the bench against Liverpool and had a cameo in the match for the last 10 minutes. Will be fresh to play on Wednesday and will be a key man in stopping Diego Costa and co. Having recently featured in the PFA Team of The Year, the England International Centre-back will be high on confidence and enthusiasm.
Left Centre Back: John Terry (C)
Yes! The captain should be back for this game. After suffering a crunching ankle injury in the first leg, it was expected that John Terry won’t complete the season. But the Chelsea leader, known for his resilience has fought back from the injury. Jose Mourinho had ruled him out of the Liverpool game but when asked about the Atletico match, he said “Let’s see”. When Jose gives such answers, it generally means he’ll go ahead with the selection of that player, like he did with Eto’o against Paris Saint Germain.
Left Back: Cesar Azpilicueta
The Spanish defender, originally a right back, will be expected to resume his left-back duties which he has carried out in style this season. He has been one of the best performers for the Blues and Jose Mourinho is bound to play Azpilicueta for the work ethic, decision making and tactical game-reading ability of the Spaniard.