If the draw against Southampton late last month slightly halted their momentum, then the 5-3 loss to Tottenham Hotspur on New Year’s Day well and truly threw it off the rails.
However Chelsea have a chance to make a big statement this weekend when they travel to Swansea City to take on Gary Monk’s impressive outfit. The victory over Newcastle United, coming after a simple win in the F.A Cup against Watford, put Jose Mourinho’s men back on the straight and narrow, and The Special One will be keen to see his side register another strong run of results.
To do that they have to overcome the Swans at the Liberty Stadium, with Monk saying during his pre-match press conference that this is the strongest Chelsea squad he’s ever seen. No shortage of praise there, then.
First and foremost however Mourinho has to pick a side capable of dismantling an outfit who aren’t too shabby themselves. Here’s who we think he’ll opt for.
GK: Petr Cech - With Thibaut Courtois still nursing an injury it makes sense to assume he won’t be risked until fully fit. Cech is as proven as any goalkeeper in the Premier League and won’t have a problem with slotting in for the second game running.
LB: Filipe Luis - The Brazilian hasn’t played nearly as much as he would have liked this term, and that’s thanks to the good form of Cesar Azpilicueta. With the Spain international injured against Newcastle though, Luis should get his chance.
CB: John Terry - The talismanic captain continues to defy those who claimed his age had finally gotten the better of him. Important matches bring the best out of him, and so the trip to Wales won’t be a problem.
CB: Gary Cahill - It was Kurt Zouma who stepped in against Newcastle, at Cahill’s expensive, but we reckon it’s too much to ask for Mourinho to keep the England international out for a second fixture in a row. Back to business for Cahill and Terry it is.
RB: Branislav Ivanovic - If there’s a more consistent right-back in the Premier League we’re yet to see him play this term. The Serbian international is diligent defensively and good going forward. The right-back slot is a no brainer.
DM: Nemanja Matic - The former Benfica man has established himself as one of the most influential players in Jose Mourinho’s fold. Tall, strong and a perfect shield for the back four, Swansea will be lucky to find a way around him.
DM: Francesc Fabregas - The ex-Arsenal captain has proved he hasn’t lost his midas touch for creativity since returning to the Premier League, and he finds himself at the centre of almost everything Chelsea do. Ramires is good, but he’s not going to get in whilst Fabregas is fit.
LAM: Eden Hazard - Hazard is in fine form this season and as such he’s started virtually every one of Chelsea’s games. Not just a danger man when it comes to assisting, he’ll also chip in with goals, and Monk will be wary of his ability to control the left-flank.
CAM: Oscar - The Brazilian maestro has been moulded into an ideal player for occupying the hole behind the striker. His eye for a pass is continually improving and there’s little doubt that he’ll be in Mourinho’s plans for the weekend’s match.
RAM: Willian - Willian’s ability to use his pace and trickery down the right-flank has complemented the skill used by Hazard on the opposite flank, giving Chelsea more than one option when it comes to posing a threat for the opposition. As such he’ll likely be given the nod ahead of Andre Schurrle.
CF: Diego Costa - Loic Remy and Didier Drogba would have a cause for complaint if Costa wasn’t the top goalscorer in the Premier League. At the moment there’s simply no stopping the ex-Atletico Madrid man. Mourinho would be mad to bench him.
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