After a comfortable 2-1 away win at the Selhurst Park over Crystal Palace on Saturday, Chelsea directs attention to the Uefa champions league match day three fixture against Slovenian side NK Maribor at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.
Chelsea’s last outing in the champions league was against Sporting CP of Portugal in Lisbon where the visitors ran away with a 1-0 win which placed the team 4points on top of the group’s table, 2points above second place Maribor and Schalke 04 of Germany.
Jose Mourinho will look to get his first win in 3 Uefa champions league matches at Stamford Bridge after the previous two ended in a loss (against Atletico Madrid) and a draw (against Schalke 04) and get the team on the right path to qualifying for the next stage of the competition.
Bearing any injury and some fitness issues in mind, we profile a likely line-up for Tuesday’s game in the match day three of the 2014/15 Uefa champions league fixture against NK Maribor of Slovenia at Stamford Bridge.
Thibaut Courtios is set to continue in goal for this game. He was in goal in the previous two Champions league match against Schalke and Sporting Lisbon. Against Crystal Palace over the weekend he was superb in goal and though not overtly tested by Palace attack. Everyone expected he would keep a clean sheet to take his tally to four clean sheet in all competition for club this season but he was easily beaten by a late Fraizer Campbell consolation for the Eagles.
Petr Cech could also stake a claim for the spot but it will be the young Belgian that Jose Mourinho will prefer in between the sticks.
Jose Mourinho has maintained the same defence line in our previous champions league matches with Filipe Luis taking over from Ceasar Azpilicueta who has always been used in the league games on the left full back. With a crunchy tie away to Manchester United on Sunday in mind, Mourinho could give Branislav Ivanovic some rest allowing Azpilicueta who is suspended for Sunday’s game to play as the right full back. Ivanovic has played in all of Chelsea’s game this season and bearing in mind any attacking threat posed by Maribor Mourinho might decide to give him some rest. Captain John Terry and partner Garry Cahill will as usual nail down the Central defenders’ spots.
The partnership between Fabregas and Matic have been immense and that will look to continue with both taking the double pivot spot. While Fabregas links the more attacking players with the defense, Matic will be tasked with the responsibility of screening the defence from opposition’s attack. Mourinho would have loved to rest the duo of Matic and Fabregas who have played every single game for Chelsea this season but likely replacements Mikel and Ramires are unavailable for this game.
Mourinho has confirmed that Ramires who just returned to light training yesterday(Monday) will not be ready for this game while Mikel is totally ruled out with a foot injury he copped while on international duty with Nigeria in the AFCON qualifiers.
Eden Hazard, in-form Oscar and Willian will take the three band spot behind the striker. While Oscar plays directly behind the lone striker, Willian and Hazard will operate from the right and left flank respectively. Andre Schurrle who started light training again with the first team would not be able make a return to the starting XI. Schurrle sat out Chelsea’s last game due to illness he contracted during the international break.
Diego Costa has been given no chance for this game by Jose Mourinho after the player missed the Crystal Palace game due to his hamstring problem. Loic Remy started in his stead and showed understanding with the other attacking players- Oscar, Hazard, Fabregas. He is set to make his first champions league start for Chelsea as this game could also come too early for Didier Drogba who is recovering from his aggravated ankle injury. So Remy is likely to start.
Courtious, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Terry, Luis, Matic, Fabregas, Willian, Oscar, Hazard, Remy
Cech, Zouma, Ivanovic, Salar, Ake, Drogba