Branislav Ivanovic will be available for selection despite his red card against Manchester City in the Community Shield match, as cards during pre-season do not result in bans. The only player that isn’t available for selection is Marko Marin, who is struggling with a hamstring injury.
The team I’d play:
B. Ivanovic – G. Cahill – J. Terry (c) – A. Cole
J. Mikel – F. Lampard
Ramires – E. Hazard – R. Bertrand
In terms of the defence, the only question is who would you start, David Luiz or Gary Cahill? My preference is for the latter as I believe him to be the more composed defender and although Luiz is incredibly talented, but his tendency to rush out and commit himself is incredibly annoying. Luiz showed us last season that he can reign it in and concentrate on his job, he just needs to do this on a regular basis. However, I wouldn’t mind seeing him play at right-back as he’d have a lot more to offer going forward than Ivanovic, but I don’t see the manager going for it.
The midfield didn’t look great against City, especially John Obi Mikel, who gave the ball away more times in that game than he did last season. He got a hell of a lot of abuse for that performance but it’s not something he makes a habit of, when Roberto Di Matteo took charge last season Mikel only gave the ball away 15 times in total. I’m not sure what plans Di Matteo has for Oscar, who could make his debut tomorrow, but I think in the long-term he’s seen as someone that could potentially take over from Frank Lampard.
Juan Mata was completely anonymous against City and looked wrecked, I wouldn’t blame him as he was on international duty for both the European Championships and the Olympics. Give the boy a rest. Leaving him out tomorrow would also give us the opportunity to play Eden Hazard in his natural position. Also would like to see the ever improving Ryan Bertrand start on the in front of Ashley Cole, to keep the width on that side. Ramires to start on the right, but could eventually be replaced by Oscar, depending on which position the youngster will be asked to play.
Up front, Torres, the only establish centre-forward in the squad. Hope he can build on his performance against the Citizens last weekend.