Chelsea face a test to maintain their unbeaten start to the season as they face Sporting CP tonight in Lisbon in their second group stage match of the UEFA Champions League. With the London derby against Arsenal on 5th, Jose Mourinho will be mindful of the team selection tonight. Let us take a look at the expected starting line-up for tonight’s match.
Courtois keeps his place as the team’s No. 1 ahead of Petr Cech with consistent error-free performances between the posts. With another calm performance against Aston Villa, Courtois will be expected to keep his place in the starting lineup.
Ivanovic has been one of Chelsea’s most consistent players in the past seasons and this season he has been no different. His ability to bomb down the right and provide vital passes contribute to a lot of goals. Defensively, he may have been a little lacking at times, with his focus more on attack. However, he has been the best right-back in the Premier league this season.
Gary Cahill has been putting in solid performances all through his Chelsea career. Although Chelsea have conceded quite a few goals this season, it may be down to the fact that they have attacked quite a lot, with spaces naturally forming for the opposition to exploit. While clean sheets are of paramount importance, Cahill and Terry will be the heart of Chelsea’s defense as it would be too early to give Kurt Zouma a Champions League match.
Right since Mourinho’s arrival Terry has been Chelsea’s most improved player and the best centre half in the Premier League along with Vincent Kompany. He may have been caught on the break and failed in a few aerial challenges against Everton, but after yet another fine performance against Aston Villa, he will be surely starting as the captain.
Filipe Luis has had to be content with a substitute’s role, mainly due to the consistent form of the hard-working Cesar Azpilicueta. Luis did play in the win over Bolton in the Capital One Cup and the first group stage match against Schalke 04, and did a good job without making any mistakes. With the Arsenal match on Sunday, Mourinho will make sure Azpilicueta is rested, which ensures Luis’s name in the starting lineup.
Matic’s absence in last season’s European campaign due to him being cup-tied was a huge loss to Chelsea. Matic is the player responsible for screening the back four behind him and is a huge physical presence in the middle of the park. His ability to win headers is a great quality, needed to defend set pieces. He has quietly been doing a fantastic job for the team, and while the media and fans applaud the goal scorers, his role goes a long way in maintaining the team’s form.
While Matic is the destroyer in the midfield, Fabregas is the creative force in the team. His ability to provide assists, and control the match makes sure that he starts almost very match, let alone a vital Champions League away game. So Fabregas will surely start alongside Matic.
While Hazard has not yet set the league alight with his goals and flair this season, he still continues to be a very important player for Chelsea. With dribbling skills, speed and shots under his belt, he is now also mindful of his defensive duties. Last Saturday, he was seen tracking back, keeping a check on Alan Hutton. He is always an asset to the team and will start yet again.
Although Oscar has not been involved in all of the games for Chelsea this season, he has been in the last two and had two goals in those two matches. He is in fine scoring form, and with Ramires injured, he is expected to get a start.
Andre Schurrle has a habit of scoring whenever he plays. He scored against Manchester City after coming on at half-time. As a hard working winger with the ability to score goals, a much-needed thing in an away game, Schurrle will most probably be given a chance ahead of Willian.
Diego Costa still has a niggling hamstring injury, as revealed by Mourinho last week, and is yet not fit to play three games a week. With Drogba ruled out and a match against Arsenal on Sunday, Costa will be rested, which gives Remy an opportunity to start. Having already scored a goal on his debut against Swansea, Remy will be looking to get his first ever Champions League goal for Chelsea.
Edited By: Vikram Vadiganeni