Jose Mourinho got off to a winning start on his return to Stamford Bridge during the 2-0 victory over Hull City Tigers on Sunday and has another opportunity to add three more points on the board against Aston Villa tomorrow.
The Villains did not enjoy the best of campaigns last season but they looked in good shape at the Emirates on Saturday. Paul Lambert’s side beat Arsenal 3-1 and although there’s some argument over a few refereeing decisions they were well worth their win.
David Luiz has been ruled out of contention but Mourinho anticipates that the Brazilian defender could return to the side next week. Having not played much over the summer I think it’d be unlikely Luiz will start in the next game against Manchester United, so the pairing that plays tomorrow night will likely be the one that Mourinho intends to start at Old Trafford on Monday.
There’s only one other injury casualty in the squad and that’s Tomas Kalas, who is still recovering from a small fracture in his leg but it is unlikely he’d have been considered for the Villa game in any case.
The XI I’d pick for tomorrow night:
C. Azpilicueta – B. Ivanovic – J. Terry (c) – A. Cole
Ramires – van Ginkel
V. Moses – Oscar – E. Hazard
A lot of fans are talking about shuffling the pack over the course of the season but continuity is also important and there’s no point making any more than one or two changes after only one game. We have a big match on Monday against United so if there are players that are in need of time on the pitch then we have to give it to them.
Ashley Cole worries me a bit at left-back as he was done for pace a few times in the Hull game and I reckon Lambert may have the likes of Gabriel Agbonlahor try have a go at him here. John Terry and Gary Cahill did okay on Sunday but I’d like to see the width that Cesar Azpilicueta offers on the right whilst Branislav Ivanovic may be better equipped to deal with Christian Benteke’s physical nature than Cahill.
Frank Lampard is in reserve in case we need him, as is Michael Essien, but I’d like to see Marco van Ginkel feature again. Ramires was brilliant on Sunday as the more defensive of the midfield pairing but Lampard wasn’t required to do much of it against Hull whereas Villa look a little bit quicker on the break and Mourinho has highlighted his as a threat.
Victor Moses had a really good pre season and is one of those players that needs time on the pitch so would warrant a start here. Just in case he isn’t available we may see more of Kevin De Bruyne or Andre Schurrle. If he’s fully fit then Juan Mata also needs to play in this match.
I’d stick with Fernando Torres up front as he was a big part of the action when we were looking at our best at the weekend and is better at linking up with the three lads behind him than either Romelu Lukaku or Demba Ba.