Chelsea begin their UEFA Champions League campaign against FC Basel at Stamford Bridge tomorrow night and Jose Mourinho confirmed that there are no fresh injury concerns in the squad.
The Portuguese manager revealed that both Frank Lampard and Oscar will start the match and although he has not revealed the full starting XI to his players, he said that four ‘beautiful young eggs’ under the age of 22 will start the match. The only absentee is Ramires who is suspended after being sent off in the Super Cup against Bayern Munich.
The XI I’d pick to play FC Basel:
C. Azpilicueta – G. Cahill – D. Luiz – A. Cole
M. van Ginkel – F. Lampard (c)
K. De Bruyne – Oscar – A. Schurrle
Mourinho said he’ll be starting four players under 22 and seeing as Tomas Kalas isn’t included in the Champions League squad and it’s unlikely Josh McEachran or Nathaniel Chalobah will feature, so 20-year-old Dutch midfielder is likely to feature alongside Oscar, Kevin De Bruyne and either Andre Schurrle or Eden Hazard (all 22-year-olds). I’d like to see Hazard rested so will opt for Schurrle, but hope the German will make way for Willian at some point.
Cesar Azpilicueta had a really good debut season at Chelsea and is a more natural right-back, who supplies width, than Branislav Ivanovic so it’s a little disappointing he hasn’t been given much of a shot as Mourinho made it fairly clear which defender was his number one right-back fairly early on.
I’d start Gary Cahill in both today’s game and the Fulham match, and I’d prefer it if he partnered John Terry in the Premier League whilst David Luiz’s game lends itself more towards the European game.
As I said eariler I’d let Hazard have a breather as he wasn’t in the best of shape during the international break and seeing as Mourinho said he’ll be starting four lads 22 and under, it doesn’t look like they’ll be room enough for Juan Mata but I want him back in the XI at the weekend.
Demba Ba was at the press conference talking about his future at Chelsea but I hope that was just because he was close to going to Arsenal before the transfer window closed and it isn’t an indication that he’ll be starting the game. Samuel Eto’o had more shots in the Everton match than Fernando Torres has had this season so far. He was knocked off the ball a little too easily in that game but looked dangerous and it isn’t like either of the other two are any less difficult to dispossess.