Chelsea welcome Bournemouth to Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening in a highly anticipated game, desperately looking to extend their unbeaten run to three matches after the victory over Norwich City and a goalless draw with Tottenham Hotspur last weekend.
The teamsheet of Jose Mourinho caused much a debate at White Hart Lane, when Diego Costa was dropped to the bench in favour of Eden Hazard leading the attack. So, will the Portuguese manager field an unchanged eleven or recall the Blue’s controversial no.19 to the starting lineup this weekend?
Here is the predicted lineup for Chelsea against Bournemouth.
The biggest positive for the Blues comes in the name of Thibaut Courtois, who is set to return after missing three months with injury. The Belgian shotstopper was heavily missed in Chelsea’s defence as the defending champions struggled to live up to the expectations conceding goals regularly. With him returning to the team, we expect a bit more efficiency in Mourinho’s defence.
Captain John Terry is still sidelined at the back as he is yet to be fully fit, that means the Kurt Zouma and Cahill partnership will be given more time to show their calibres at Stamford Bridge. Branislav Ivanovic is likely to start at right-back despite the poor performances in recent matches, while in left-back position it will be Azpilicueta.
In the deep lying midfield role Nemanja Matic will once again partner with Fabregas who managed to kick-start few of Chelsea’s best counter attacks. Against Bournemouth he will be handed the task of breaking up the play. On the other hand Matic has to improve his performance because against Tottenham he initially left too much pockets of space in the deep midfield loosing possessions many times.
Mystery lies here. Who will be slotted in the three attacking spots? Hazard was surprisingly used up front while Costa was left out of the starting lineup in the last match. The gamble didn’t work out well for Mourinho as the Blues again struggled for goals. We may see Costa back in the team shifting Hazard to the flank, so the attacking trio could be Willian, Hazard operating from the flanks while Oscar again handed the no.10 role but the Brazilian have to work hard as he was largely inactive in the last match. Willian showed his brilliance down the right wing against the Spurs putting strong shift defensively, we can see the same thing against Bournemouth also. Pedro will be benched to accommodate Hazard on the left wing.
Jose Mourinho might go for Diego Costa again in search of goals despite the ongoing controversy surrounding the Spaniard. If he gets the nod, Costa himself will be desperate to break the shackles to breathe a fresh air and only scoring goals can give him the chance to silence the critics’ atleast for the time being. The last match he played against Norwich, scoring the only goal of the match which eventually ended the three-game losing streak for Chelsea in Premier League.