Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has already confirmed that new signing Nemanja Matic won’t start against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
The Blues go into this Premier League clash as favourites over last year’s Champions, who have struggled since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson and find themselves in seventh place in the table.
Frank Lampard may return from a calf injury that has kept him out of late but Branislav Ivanovic remains sidelined with a knee injury, it’s a clean bill of health for Sunday’s game.
Manchester United manager David Moyes has real concerns in the striking department (welcome to our world) as both Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie have been ruled out for their visit to Stamford Bridge, whilst right-back Rafael serves the final game of his three-match ban.
Predicted Chelsea XI:
C. Azpilicueta – G. Cahill – J. Terry (c) – A. Cole
Ramires – D. Luiz
Oscar – Willian – E. Hazard
It has been difficult to predict Mourinho’s starting teams all season but he has no real room for manoeuvre when it comes to Chelsea’s fullbacks as Ivanovic is injured and Ryan Bertrand has departed on loan, but I’m of the opinion that Cesar Azpilicueta is our best right-back anyway and am glad to see him in his rightful position.
Gary Cahill seems to be the manager’s preferred partner alongside John Terry in the centre of the defence and I see no reason for Mourinho to change that tomorrow – especially as he has been playing David Luiz in the midfield recently and we could see the Brazilian there again tomorrow, although I’d prefer John Obi Mikel alongside Ramires myself.
In terms of our attack Eden Hazard is very much the star of this Chelsea side and is by far our biggest weapon to frighten United with. Willian has really kicked on over the past couple of months and has established himself as an important part of Mourinho’s system and I’d expect his countryman Oscar to make up the three, but Oscar needs to address his address his consistency as he has the tendency to disappear at times.
Mourinho was full of praise for Fernando Torres following Chelsea’s win over Hull City and remarked that the striker was enjoying his football again and also praised the Stamford Bridge faithful for their continued support of the player. It doesn’t look like Mourinho will be recruiting a new forward this winter so will have to make-do with what he has until the summer. Torres is currently the best option.