Five Chelsea players with huge roles to play in World Cup qualifiers

Gary Cahill Chelsea

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho will have one eye glued to the World Cup qualifiers over the next week.

Chelsea have one of the most diverse squads of players in the Premier League, which unfortunately means every time there is an international break, those stars accumulate air miles all over the world.

The Blues have just started to recover after a small blip in form and there are key players who will be heading into the next set of international games full of confidence and drive.

Here are five players to keep an eye on.

Petr Cech

The Czech Republic have a glimmer of hope of making the World Cup next summer and Chelsea’s goalkeeper will play a key role.

The Czechs need to win both of their remaining group games against Malta and Bulgaria to apply maximum pressure to the Bulgarians and Denmark, the only other side with a good chance of beating the Czech Republic to second place.

Gary Cahill

Cahill will be fresh having been on the bench for Chelsea’s last couple of matches and his performances in the last international break mean he should start both of England’s remaining qualifiers.

Cahill has formed a strong relationship next to Phil Jagielka in the England back four and he’ll be under pressure from all angles, especially in the match against Poland with the likes of Robert Lewandowski looking to get the better of him.

Cahill will need to be strong in the air as that’s one of the ways Montenegro and Poland are likely to attack England.

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Frank Lampard

It will be interesting to see if England boss Roy Hodgson chooses to use Lampard in back-to-back games again in this set of qualifiers.

He’s been one of the Chelsea’s best players so far this season and has already accumulated 14 matches in all competitions for club and country, which is a slight worry considering he’s 35-years-old.

Lampard will be crucial in the middle of England’s team against Montenegro and/or Poland, in difficult matches which could turn into midfield battles.

Eden Hazard

Belgium need just one more point to finish top of Group A as they are unlikely to be caught by Croatia in terms of goal difference.

Hazard had injury issues during the last international break and it will be interesting to see how he performs in the game away against Croatia, because the Croatians will challenge him and try to starve him of possession.

Juan Mata

Spain have two matches left in qualifying, home games against Belarus and Georgia. They’re under pressure from France on the same number of points but have a game in hand and have only conceded two goals in qualifying so far.

They shouldn’t have a problem securing maximum points and finishing top of the table and it’s a chance for Mata to generate even more momentum which has been building from his recent form for Chelsea.

If Mata can get game time and star in both matches, it will further convince Jose Mourinho that he needs to be in the Chelsea team for the rest of the season.

See also: Lukaku ready to outscore Chelsea's Fernando Torres

image: © Ben Sutherland

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