Predicted Chelsea XI to play Cardiff City - Hazard to start with Schurrle unavailable

Jose Mourinho has a couple of big decisions to make over his Chelsea side to face Cardiff City this weekend.

Chelsea have made a decent start to the Premier League season, currently two points behind joint league leaders Arsenal and Liverpool.

Jose Mourinho will be wary of Cardiff City because they showed against Manchester City that they can take a bigger team apart which means the Portuguese coach will likely go with his strongest side for this game.

Mourinho has a couple of selection dilemmas ahead of the game, with Andre Schurrle and Ashley Cole ruled out through injury and Fernando Torres only just back to fitness following a knee problem.

Here is the team he may go with.

GK – Petr Cech

Until Thibaut Courtois comes back to the club, Cech is the undoubted number one at Stamford Bridge and he’ll continue in goal. His experience, leadership and basic qualities as a goalkeeper make him a valuable last line of defence for the side.

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RB – Branislav Ivanovic

The Serbian looks as though he’s going to be Mourinho’s right-back for the rest of the season. It’s a role he seems to be relishing whether he’s getting forward or using his strength and aggression to come wingers quiet down his side of the pitch.

CB – Gary Cahill

Cahill probably showed Mourinho enough during the international break for him to come back into the side. He played well against Montenegro and did a decent job against Poland when he was faced up against Borussia Dortmund star and Chelsea target Robert Lewandowski.

CB – John Terry

Terry didn’t play for England during the international break, which means he’s had a rest and he’ll be fresh. Terry will be key in keeping the Chelsea back four organised as Cardiff City will look to exploit space on the counter attack.

LB – Ryan Bertrand

Ryan Bertrand gets a chance on the left side of Chelsea's defence with Ashley Cole unavailable. He shouldn't have a problem having the same attacking influence as Cole in the opponent's final third and it will be interesting to see how he does defensively.

See also: £3.5m Chelsea starlet scores screamer in 6-1 romp

RM – Juan Mata

Mata should continue on the right side of Chelsea’s midfield. He’ll be confident having won his Chelsea place back to go with the goal he scored for Spain last night, his first of the season in competitive football. Expect to see him coming inside onto his stronger left foot.

DM – Ramires

The Brazilian should take his usual role in behind the more advanced midfielders, protecting the back four. He’s been superb this season as a holding player but he’s dangerous because he shows initiative to get forward when it doesn’t jeopardise the defence.

CM – Frank Lampard

Lampard didn’t play a full part in England’s win over Poland, which means he’ll be fresher and ready to start this game. Lampard’s leadership will be key in the middle and he’ll make a variety of runs from midfield, popping up late in advanced attacking positions.

AM – Oscar

Oscar is likely to be the player sitting in behind the main striker. He’s superb at making himself available to any of the other midfielders but also in terms of feeding the main striker, creating chances from out of nothing and drifting around the midfield, making himself difficult to mark.

LM – Eden Hazard

Schurrle would have more than likely started on the left hand side of midfield following his hat-trick for Germany earlier this week. However, with him carrying a slight niggle, Eden Hazard should take his regular place on the left.

See also: VIDEO: Sensational Schurrle! Chelsea star scores hat-trick for Germany

ST – Fernando Torres

If Jose Mourinho is confident that Torres has shaken off his injury then he'll start. He was in great form before the international break and looks very determined to lead the Chelsea frontline this season.


What do you think? Should Cole start? Is Ba a better option up front?

image: © Ben Sutherland

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