Werder Bremen vs Chelsea
Sunday, August 3
Mourinho to name strong side
Chelsea face their toughest opponents of a busy pre-season schedule when they meet Werder Bremen on Sunday, and Jose Mourinho may use the encounter to give a run out to the strongest XI he has used in the warm-up games so far.
That would appear to include Thibaut Courtois, who has been welcomed into the Chelsea squad for the first time after three successful seasons on loan with Atletico Madrid. The Belgian is expected to place some part against Werder Bremen.
Cech vs Courtois
The smart money would appear to be on Courtois starting the Premier League campaign as the leading Chelsea goalkeeper ahead of Peter Cech, and Mourinho claims the choice between the two is a comforting selection headache.
“It's a good problem for me,” Mourinho said. “Thibaut just arrived, he arrived as the best young goalkeeper in the world. They will fight and for me it is a good.
“I was never afraid to make big decisions. I prefer to make this decision than to have a keeper I don't trust.”
Ahead of Courtois, Cesar Azpilicueta could move to his more natural right back position in order to given some rest to Branislav Ivanovic, who has been used frequently, while it also allows Felipe Luis to operate on the left side of defence.
Marco van Ginkel should continue alongside Nemanja Matic as he bids to regain fitness after his long-term knee injury, while Cesc Fabregas may well continue in the No.10 role having been moved into this more advanced position in the win over Vitesse.
Fabregas scored in this encounter, albeit from a free-kick, and Mourinho will be keen to offer the Spaniard a chance to prove himself in this position should he be required as a back-up to Oscar at any point in the season.
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Predicted Chelsea XI
Thibaut Courtois; Cesar Azpilicueta, Gary Cahill, John Terry, Felipe Luis; Nemanja Matic, Marko van Ginkel; Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas, Mohamed Salah; Diego Costa.