Expect Jose Mourinho to take his side back to basics following a 2-1 defeat to Basel in the Champions League.
Jose Mourinho doesn’t seem entirely sure of what his best team is at the moment, which makes the potential side to play Fulham rather difficult to predict. However, after back-to-back defeats there is a good chance he will go back to basics with players he can rely on.
Here is the side he may go with to play Fulham.
GK – Petr Cech
Cech is still the best goalkeeper Chelsea have available. There is no reason to drop him because the majority of goals Chelsea have conceded this season he hasn’t been able to do a lot about. Expect to see him slightly more vocal in the way he organises his back four.
RB – Branislav Ivanovic
Ivanovic should continue at right back because of the strength he offers down that side of the pitch. He got forward well against Basel and will be determined to close out any attacks that Fulham put together down his side of the pitch.
CB – Gary Cahill
Cahill didn’t have his best game against Basel but he’s still been one of Chelsea’s best defenders so far this season. He will be key against the long ball game that Fulham are likely to use to attack Chelsea in open play and from set pieces.
CB – John Terry
Expect to see Terry coming back into the side at the expense of David Luiz. His leadership and experience was missing against Basel and he’s a player that Mourinho knows he can trust, as he looks for the back four to become impenetrable as the Blues go for three points.
LB – Ashley Cole
Cole will continue in that left back role. He offers a good option going forward and is likely to tighten up significantly defensively as he struggled against Basel’s wide players. Fulham would be naïve to try and exploit him because he doesn’t often go long spells in poor form.
RM – Andre Schurrle
At times against Basel, Ivanovic was screaming out for some support on the right hand side. Chelsea are blessed with central midfield players but Mourinho could consider starting Schurrle on the right just to create more width across the midfield, as the other central players are good enough to control the middle.
CM – Ramires
Ramires should come straight back into the side after he was suspended for the match against Basel. He’ll be fresh and he’s a good player to have sitting in front of the back four, winning back possession before setting up counter attacks and feeding the more creative players.
CM – Frank Lampard
Lampard is another of those players that Mourinho can put his total trust in. Everyone knows how good Lampard is when it comes to breaking forward to support the attack and he’s looked in good form this season. He should produce a more confident performance with Ramires in behind him.
CM – Oscar
For some reason Mourinho hasn’t liked using Juan Mata regularly this season which means Oscar is likely to continue in the middle. The Brazilian is a superb creative player and his goal against Basel will give him confidence that he should be the leading creative force in Chelsea’s midfield.
LM – Eden Hazard
Hazard was nowhere near his best against Basel but he’s still the best option the Blues have on the left side of midfield. He can stick wide, cut inside and generally give Fulham plenty of problems over the course of 90 minutes. He should be looking to produce a big performance.
ST – Samuel Eto’o
The temptation will be to get Fernando Torres or Demba Ba back into the side but Eto’o looks like a player who thrives on confidence. He just needs a goal to get himself going in a Chelsea shirt and he should find himself on the end of a few chances in this game.
What do you think? Will De Bruyne come back? Will Eto’o continue up front?
image: © Ben Sutherland