Predicted Chelsea XI to play FC Schalke - Cahill, Schurrle to come in

Stamford Bridge Inside

Chelsea have a quick chance to react after defeat at Newcastle with a home match against FC Schalke, kick-off tomorrow at 19:45 GMT.

Chelsea should be confident heading into their Champions League game, after a comfortable 3-0 win against the German team in the last round of the competition. Another three points here will put the Blues one step closer to the magical ten point mark.

However, Jose Mourinho will be looking for big improvements from his Chelsea side following their defeat to Newcastle United last weekend and there are certainly one or two players facing the axe, as Mourinho could make several changes for the Schalke game.

Here is the side he may go with.

GK – Petr Cech

The Chelsea goalkeeper has been one of the most consistent goalkeepers around ever since he joined the club. He makes good saves from a variety of positions and should be determined to keep out the German side’s attack.

RB – Branislav Ivanovic

Ivanovic will have to do a lot of work down his side of the pitch and not just defensively. Chelsea rely on him to get forward and provide extra width on that side of the pitch. He didn’t have his best game against Newcastle but he should keep his place.

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CB – Gary Cahill

It wouldn’t be surprising to see Cahill come back into the side at the expense of David Luiz. Cahill will be fresh after sitting on the bench against Newcastle and he offers more control in the back four than the Brazilian.

CB – John Terry

It’s a big ask for Terry to play two matches so close together but if he’s fit, he has to play. He offers vital leadership in the Chelsea defence as well as a threat on the rare occasions he goes forward. He’ll have a big role to play if the start of the match doesn’t go according to plan.

LB – Ashley Cole

Cole’s ability to control his side of the defence doesn’t need to be sold. He’s solid defensively and always offers something going forward. He has to stay a little bit closer to Terry on that side of the defence if Chelsea start to take a bit of pressure.

RM – Andre Schurrle

Schurrle was named on the bench for the Newcastle game, which could have been a sign that Mourinho was looking to hold him back for this fixture. He’s a very good wide man and someone in good form so it’s important for Chelsea to take advantage of that while they can.

DM – Ramires

Mourinho likes Ramires in the holding role so expect him to continue there. He gets stuck in well and breaks forward when he can. He’s a very good player when it comes to linking midfield with the defence or the attack.

See also: Chelsea wonderkid to be fast-tracked by Mourinho

CM – Frank Lampard

Lampard is another key experienced player who should feature in this game. He needs to get on the ball more than he did against Newcastle and try to dictate the pace of the play. If he can make runs forward from deep and different positions then expect him to do just that.

AM – Juan Mata

Mata started on the right against Newcastle but he could come inside and play just in behind the main striker. He’s been good since he won back his place in the Chelsea starting team and Mourinho knows he can trust Mata to protect and use the ball well.

LM – Eden Hazard

Mourinho may be toying with the idea of playing Willian down the left but it would be a surprise if Hazard lost his place. The Belgian is good down the outside and he’s also very good cutting inside. He needs to use the ball better than he did against Newcastle.

ST – Samuel Eto'o

With Fernando Torres unlikely to feature with a thigh problem, there is another chance for Eto'o to lead the attack. He should be determined to make the most of this game with plenty of different runs all along the frontline, which could cause some chaos in the Schalke defence.

What do you think? Where would you make changes?

image: © Ben Sutherland

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