Champions League will be back this midweek, when Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea travel to Maribor, Slovenia to line up against the PrvaLiga team NK Maribor in a hope to secure their place in the knock-out stage of the competition (like that was going to be an issue).
Chelsea put six past Maribor when they met at Stamford Bridge in October, and while the Blues are sitting pretty at the top of the group, the Slovenian team are still looking for their first win.
With a trip to Anfield probably looming in Mourinho’s mind, the boss might wanna make a few changes to his regular starting eleven to rest his key players, and this is how he is expected to line up against the Slovenian side at Ljudski vrt.
GK – PETR CECH
Mourinho has already made it clear that Courtois is his preferred choice in front of the goal, but that doesn’t stop him from starting Petr Cech in the less important fixtures. Probably why the Czech shot stopper starts tomorrow.
CB – GARY CAHILL and KURT ZOUMA
Keeping the weekend fixture in mind, Kurt Zouma would most probably partner Gary Cahill at the heart of our defence on Wednesday. Zouma, with his few appearances, has been very impressive for the Blues this season, and Mourinho surely trusts him enough to start him in midweek, to rest one of his first choice CBs.
LB – FILIPE LUIS
Azpilicueta is eligible to start at the LB spot, but the recent impressive performances from the left-back ensures that Mourinho would probably go with Luis tomorrow, as the Brazilian’s threatening crosses and dangerous attacking prowess might come handy against the Slovenian side.
RB – BRANISLAV IVANOVIC
No questions here. If the beast is fit, he starts, that’s how important he has been for Mourinho this season. There is an option for Jose to rest him and start with Azpilicueta, but knowing Jose, he would probably go with Ivanovic.
CM – NEMANJA MATIC and CESC FABREGAS
Knowing Jose and his ways, it is safe to assume that he will look to pick up all three points in this one before concentrating on the high-octane fixture at Anfield on Saturday. Matic has been a rock in front of the back four while Fabregas is fit enough to play 3 games a week.
That’s why Mourinho would be tempted to start with these two in the middle, while the duo could be subbed off in favor of Ramires and Mikel in view of the trip to Merseyside.
LW – EDEN HAZARD
With Eden Hazard in this kind of form, he would surely be eager to have another go at the Maribor defence. The Belgian gave the Slovenian side a nightmarish time in October with a Man Of The Match performance, and things might not be much different this time around too. Although, he might be taken off early in view of the weekend clash.
RW- ANDRE SCHURRLE
The German winger hasn’t been able to replicate his form that earned him some rave reviews in the World Cup. Schurrle’s season has been barred with injuries and illness so far, and this would be his chance to prove his worth for Mourinho after a disappointing showing against Shrewsbury.
CAM – WILLIAN
Oscar has started all of the recent Chelsea fixtures including the Capital One Cup game, and despite his glorious form, this might be the chance for Mourinho to give him a rest ahead of the Liverpool match, which means it’s the other Brazilian who is in for the start at CAM spot.
STRIKER – DIDIER DROGBA
No one expected Drogba to contribute much as a third choice striker for the Blues, but the Ivorian has proved everyone wrong by his excellent performances so far this season. He starts tomorrow while Costa is saved for the trip to Anfield.
Edited By: Girish Bhangre