It’s the battle between two of the best defenses of the league when the fourth placed Saints welcome the league leaders Chelsea at St. Mary Stadium in the late afternoon kick-off today.
Given the hectic winter schedule, both of the teams would come into this fixture with just 48 hours of rest which calls for a bit of rotation, eh? But knowing Mourinho, we could more or less see the same team that triumphed against the Hammers with probably an odd couple of changes.
Speaking to the press after yesterday’s win, this is what the Portuguese had to say about rotation:
“My players are human like all the others. The point is that every match, for us, is fundamental.
“You can’t choose matches where we have more chances to win than others. If they are in good condition, they play.
“I had two training sessions planned for Saturday, but they were crying so much in the dressing room I’ve decided to make a change. They are training now. Because of that, tomorrow, instead of two sessions, only one session.”
So, apparently you don’t mess with Mourinho. The boss is having none of the fatigue talk and if you are fit enough to play, you do play!
Keeping that in mind, this is how I think Mourinho might start against the Saints later on today:
GK – THIBAUT COURTOIS
No points for guessing here as the Belgian has firmly established himself as the successor of Petr Cech with a string of world class performances. His one on one save against Enner Valencia against the Hammers further proves his abilities in front of goal. He starts today.
CB – JOHN TERRY and GARY CAHILL
John Terry has rejuvenated his career under Mourinho and after some shaky performances at the start of December, Gary Cahill looks to be back in his old form with a couple of good performances against Stoke and West Ham. The perfect duo to start at the defense.
LB – FILIPE LUIS
We might see Filipe Luis starting ahead of Azpilicueta against the Saints. Azpi was brilliant against West Ham, but Luis might be preferred to provide the attacking option as Southampton aren’t as threatening as Hammers from the wings.
RB – BRANISLAV IVANOVIC
Never a point for guessing who starts here. It’s written in blood that the Serbian tank when fit, which I must he always is, will start on the Right Back spot!
CM – NEMANJA MATIC and CESC FABREGAS
If a certain Serbian has been our most important player, his certain Spaniard partner has definitely been the most impactful player for this Chelsea side. Just like Batman and Robin, they are the perfect duo and they surely start against the Saints.
LW – EDEN HAZARD
A rest, the Belgian duly deserves, but very doubtful he is gonna get at this point in the Premier League! Hazard is the one that makes things happens for this Chelsea side and he would most probably start again at St. Mary’s.
RW – ANDRE SCHURRLE
I suspect it would be the German who gets the nod over Willian, who had a brilliant game against West Ham. The reason being, one of our AM’s might need a rest given all these fixtures and Schurrle would provide that necessary speed on the wings with his direct plays which could prove to be quite useful for us.
CAM – OSCAR
Of all our regular starting AM’s, Oscar is the most rested and he definitely starts against the Saints.
STRIKER – DIEGO COSTA
The Striker is back to his full fitness and has hit the top form which means it would be very difficult for Mourinho to rest him. I think Costa will start against the Saints and score a goal to seal the deal for Blues.
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Edited By: Ankur Bhatt