Chelsea have the chance to go three points clear ahead of the weekend if they beat Reading at Stamford Bridge tomorrow night, a game which is being played early due to our involvement in the UEFA Super Cup v Atletico Madrid.
Marko Marin is still unavailable for the match against Reading, but Roberto Di Matteo should have Ramires at his disposal now that the midfielder has recovered from the illness that prevented him from taking part in the weekend’s trip to Wigan.
The team I’d pick:
B. Ivanovic – D. Luiz – J. Terry (c) – A. Cole
J. Mikel – Oscar
Ramires – E. Hazard – R. Bertrand
The defence pretty much picks itself at the moment, especially as there’s no real alternative to Branislav Ivanovic at right-back. The only debate is whether you’d chose Gary Cahill over David Luiz, it seems as though Luiz is first choice for the moment but this could change if Di Matteo wants to rest someone ahead of the Newcastle game.
It’s a home game we should win, it would be a worry if we didn’t, and I think it could be the perfect opportunity to play Oscar in the deeper role that I, and many others, believe he’ll end up. Now, I don’t expect him to play the full 90 but it wouldn’t hurt to give Lampard a little rest before Newcastle either.
A player that’s definitely in need of rest is Juan Mata, who did not look himself during the Community Shield or against Wigan and looks tired after competing in both the Euros and Olympics without a real break. We’re not getting the best out of him when he’s like this, so we must give him a break. Ryan Bertrand played well against Wigan and I see no reason why he cannot play again whilst Ramires will return on the right and Eden Hazard in his favoured number 10 role.
Fernando Torres to start as our only main forward. We’re yet to see if Di Matteo rates Sturridge, so don’t see him getting his chance at centre forward at the moment.