Chelsea returns to action this weekend when they make an across-the-streets trip to the 26,255 capacity Selhurst park to face Crystal palace in a London derby on Saturday.
It will mark the first time the team is playing a competitive march after the 2-0 win over Arsene Wenger tutored Arsenal a fortnight ago. Majority of the player have not had time to celebrate the win which kept the club at the summit of the league table five points clear off the closest rival Manchester City as most of them travelled immediately to represent their various national side during the international break.
The players are back and will be eager to get into league actions again. While some some have had good amount of training, few have had just a day training after returning from international break on Thursday.
Jose Mourinho has a full squad as their are no major injury concerns except for Andre Schurrle(Cold), Drogba(ankle) and will asses the team to select the best eleven that can give us result against a difficult Palace side.
We take a look at the likely line up Jose Mourinho might decide to go with against Neil Warnock Eagles.
- In Goal: Thibaut Courtios is set to return to man the sticks after being taking off in the Arsenal game. The young Belgian was taking off at the 24th minute in the game against Arsenal after being injures during a collision with Alexis Sanchez. The 22-year-old was replaced by veteran Chelsea keeper Petr Cech who put on a wonderful performance against the gunners.
Courtios however returned to action for Belgium in their game against Andorra after being clear by the doctors to play. He played the full 90minute of the game and showed no sign of illness. He also featured all 90minute in their 1-1 draw against Bosnia and Hezergovina on Tuesday. So, expect Courtios to be in goal but this might not be good news to Cech who has played second fiddle and has threatened to get his position resolve as soon as possible.
- In Defence: Mourinho seems to have found the right balance in defence in recent games and its likely he continues with the same set of players he has used in Chelsea backline in the league this season. John Terry who has retired from international duty will have had enough rest and will be first on the line-up. Gary Cahill who represented England in their Euro 2016 qualifiers as well as Branislav Ivanovic and Azpilicueta will also take up their position in the line-up.
- In Midfield: Jose Mourinho seems to have also found his perfect combination in the holding midfield role with Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas combining well in all of their matches together. So, the two player will continue as the pivot two with Febregas playing as the central midfielder linking the defence with the more advanced attacking midfielders.
There could be a little change to the attacking three behind the strikers. Eden Hazard was feared to have suffered a toe injury which kept him out of Belgium’s 6-0 win over Andorra but he has recovered well to play all 90minute in their second game against Bosnia. However, Andre Schurrle was excused from Germany’s match against Republic of Ireland after being diagnose with a flu. He might seat out this game allowing Willian to take his spot. Willian, Oscar and Hazard could be the players behind the main striker. Ramires has also returned from injury and could also come in at the right flank.
Mohammed Salah and Mikel returned late from the AFCON qualifiers so, may not be involved in this one.
Diego Costa capped his international week for Spain with a goal against Luxembourg and will have no problem keeping his place upfront. Loic Remy also got a goal for France in their friendly against Armenia and could come in as substitute. There will be no Didier Drogba as the powerful Ivorian continues his recovery from an aggravated ankle injury.
Jose Mourinho has a full squad to choose from with no major injury worries but has shown in recent games that he almost got his preferred starting eleven. The only place we have often seen changes is in the three-man band behind the striker with the Willian for Schurrle or Schurrle for Willian changes and that could be the only area where the team might defer from the one that played Arsenal.
So is Chelsea likely Line-up Against Crystal Palace •Courtios• Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta • Matic, Fabregas • Willian, Oscar, Hazard • Costa. In a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Substitutes: Cech, Zouma, Luis, Ake, Ramires, Remy.