A win for Chelsea away at FC Schalke could put Jose Mourinho’s men top of Group E.
Chelsea will go into their Champions League match away to FC Schalke full of confidence after thrashing Cardiff City 4-1 in the Premier League over the weekend.
The Blues started their European campaign with a defeat at home to FC Basel but they responded well by hammering Steaua Bucharest away from home, which has put them right in the hunt to lead the group.
Jose Mourinho may make one or two changes from the team that defeated Cardiff over the weekend but Ashley Cole and Andre Schurrle are likely to remain out with injury problems.
Here is the side Mourinho may go with.
GK – Petr Cech
Cech has played in a variety of different atmospheres and hostile away environments and this match in Germany won’t bother him. He’s reliable, commands his defence well and gives his defenders the confidence that he’ll back them up.
RB – Branislav Ivanovic
Ivanovic has taken to the role of right-back well. He’s effective in an attacking sense and his experience as a defender allows him to get into good positions against tricky wingers, with a lot of pace who could turn and exploit him. He seems to be relishing the right-back role this season.
CB – Gary Cahill
Mourinho could be harsh on David Luiz who made a mistake in the match against Cardiff, which led to the away team’s goal. If he does take that harsh decision to drop the Brazilian then Cahill will be more than ready to come into the side.
CB – John Terry
Although Schalke have been dealt a bad hand in terms of injuries, Terry should stay in the side for his leadership and experience. He will ensure there is no complacency from his Chelsea teammates and he’s in a good position to organise the defence, keeping them solid against the counter attack.
LB – Ryan Bertrand
Mourinho has already voiced his doubt that Cole will be fit for this game, which means another chance for Bertrand to impress. He seems to have good pace down the left hand side and his defensive game looks decent. It will be interesting to see if he’s targeted.
RM – Juan Mata
Mata didn’t have the best game against Cardiff but he offers an option to Chelsea in terms of retaining possession. It’s harsh on Willian but Mata could be switched to the right and he gives the Blues a better chance of keeping the ball for longer periods of time.
DM – Ramires
Ramires should line up in his usual position as the holding player in midfield. He’s great whether he’s being asked to link up with the defence or to nudge forward, to move the ball onto one of the more creative and attacking players in the Chelsea midfield.
CM – Frank Lampard
Lampard will be the midfielder who gets forward most frequently to attack from the middle of the team. His experience will be key in keeping the midfield shape solid and well organised. He also offers a threat in dead ball situations if the match is tight.
AM – Oscar
With Mata edged out to the right, it means Oscar can come in and play in behind the main striker. It’s a role he’s done well so far this season and he’s good enough to create several chances for himself, the striker and other midfield players.
LM – Eden Hazard
With Schurrle out, Hazard should retain his place on the left side of Chelsea’s midfield. He’ll need to stay wide at times and offer Bertrand assistance but he’s versatile enough to come and get involved with the play centrally if he spots some space he can exploit.
ST – Samuel Eto’o
It would be harsh on Eto’o if he was dropped following his first Premier League goal for the club. He’s the perfect player to have in this situation and his experience could see him get the better of makeshift Schalke team in emphatic style.
What do you think? Should David Luiz be dropped? Does Willian need to stay in the side?
image: © achimh