Football

Chelsea predicted XI to face Schalke

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Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has a difficult selection dilemma on his hands ahead of tomorrow night's Champions League clash with Schalke, does the Blues boss risk tinkering with a winning team ahead of what promises to be a stern test in Gelsenkirchen?

Mourinho goes into the German assignment knowing victory will guarantee qualification for the knockout stages, plus the all-important top spot in Group that would help Chelsea avoid Europe's elite in the last 16.

Unbeaten Chelsea are riding the confidence of a dominant start to their Premier League campaign and have a clean bill of health on the injury front, but that means Mourinho has to make a judgement call over whether to keep playing a number of first-team stars for the second time in four days.

Will Fabregas be risked?

Mourinho's biggest call will be whether to start midfield linchpin Cesc Fabregas. The Spanish maestro pulled out of international duty with a hamstring strain, but was deemed ready to return in last Saturday's 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion and managed to complete the 90 minutes.

Fabregas is so important to Chelsea that he'll partner Nemanja Matic in midfield at the Veltins Arena, but the temptation must be there to include Ramires for his tremendous engine in a match where the Blues will need get through plenty of work in problem areas.

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Maribor flop may have an impact

Chelsea will likely lean towards playing their strongest team after the disappointment of their last Champions League test. Mourinho decided to make wholesale changes for an away tie with Maribor and included the likes of Petr Cech, Filipe Luis and Kurt Zouma in his starting XI that day, but his second-string options could only manage a 1-1 draw.

Luis, Zouma and co. will not be afforded the same opportunity on Tuesday night in a match the Blues cannot afford to lose, with Willian perhaps dropping out for Ramires as the only change of note.

Blues fans will likely be reluctant to see Diego Costa start for the second time in a week which also features a trip to Sunderland this Saturday, but Mourinho is adamant his star striker is back towards something approaching full fitness and for that reason he'll definitely start against a team led by former Chelsea player and manager Roberto di Matteo.

Chelsea starting XI to face Schalke: Courtois, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta, Matic, Fabregas, Hazard, Oscar, Ramires, Costa

Chelsea predicted line-up vs Schalke; Champions League

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Topics:
UEFA Champions League
Jose Mourinho
Chelsea
Football

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