Loic Remy one of three that should start for Chelsea against Maccabi

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Following a dismal start to the new season, Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has promised changes for the Wednesday's Champions League clash against Israeli side Maccabi Tel Aviv.

The Blues have lost three of their first five games and have been largely uninspiring and lacklustre in each, with the pressure mounting for Mourinho to whip his players back into shape.

They sit 11 points adrift of league-leaders Manchester City, raising questions over their ability to challenge for the Premier League title, placing all-the-more importance on the west London side performing in Europe.


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Here are the three changes that Mourinho should make in order to prompt an upturn in fortunes.

1) Abdul Baba Rahman for Branislav Ivanovic

Ivanovic has unquestionably been unable to reach the meteoric level of performances he was able to achieve as recently as last season so far this term, looking laboured and exposed by a lack of pace.

Whether we are seeing the beginning of Ivanovic's decline or merely a blip remains to be seen, though it's likely that his woeful first five games will prove to be the latter. Nevertheless, Mourinho would be best removing the Serbian from the firing line and the media's intense glare to give him time to reflect upon his performances.

It would also be the perfect way to introduce the young new addition of Abdul Baba Rahman into the first-team fold - certainly preferable to waiting until this weekend for an ultimate baptism of fire against rivals Arsenal.

With the greatest of respect to Maccabi, it should prove to be a much easier ride for the Ghanaian on Wednesday, allowing him to more easily adapt to his new team-mates and the team's style.

Additionally, Rahman would provide the advantage of a naturally left-footed left-back, with current incumbent Cesar Azpilicueta able to shift to his preferred right-back position. This would allow the full-backs to provide more of an attacking threat on both sides of the pitch.

2) Ruben Loftus-Cheek for Jon Obi Mikel

Wednesday's fixture may come too early for Brazilian playmaker Oscar to start, which may hand the perfect opportunity for Mourinho to give the young Ruben Loftus-Cheek a chance to impress.

The Englishman had little time to make a real impact against Crystal Palace, but has managed to register an assist this season in his 45 minutes with England Under-21s, as well as displaying an impressive 96% pass completion rate during the same game. 

The academy product has shown great composure in his previous appearances and looks ready to cope with increased first-team exposure. He would add more vigour and energy than the often pedestrian Mikel, as well as greater attacking intent than the more conservative Nigerian. 

Frankly, Mikel has failed to do much of note in his spell at Chelsea, and it is time to let others attempt to leave more of a mark in that position.

3) Loic Remy for Diego Costa

When was the last time you can remember Diego Costa playing well? Not just ok, but dominating the game from the first whistle to the last, looking a constant menace, making life mayhem for the opposition's defence?

One decent performance against West Brom aside it is hard to recall something that was a regular occurrence upon the Spain international's arrival. Niggling injuries have hindered his career in Blue to date and it appears that this had disrupted the momentum he was able to build at the beginning of last season.

Of course, the struggles of this season are by no means down to Costa himself, as the team have struggled to make enough chances for him, but he has looked short of confidence and more interested in picking up cautions than scoring goals.

The vastly underrated and underused Remy would offer a different approach, with his pace in particular able to provide a potent weapon. With Falcao out injured the Frenchman deserves a fair crack of the whip, particularly after seven Premier League goals in just six starts last season, averaging out at one every 95 mins when substitute appearances are included.

With a run of games, starting against Maccabi, Remy could prove to be even more effective. Alternatively, it will serve to prove to Costa that his position is not untouchable, and fire him up enough to coax out his very best form.

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