With Chelsea's season derailing quickly, the international break came at a good time. It enabled the Chelsea players to get away from their club miseries and the pressure of the English press for a while. It also gave Jose Mourinho a long time to think about which team he needs to select to turn it around.
GK- Asmir Begovic
The most obvious selection for Mourinho. With Thibaut Courtois out until at least December, the Bosnia international has been given a run of games that he may not have expected when he joined. So far he has performed admirably behind a shaky defence, making a string of fine saves, which have prevented some embarrassing scorelines for the blues.
RB- Cesar Azpilicueta
Mr Consistent for Chelsea since he dethroned Ashley Cole from one of the full-back positions. Although he's not been at his superb best this season, he has been far from poor. With Branislav Ivanovic likely to miss out with injury, Azpilicueta should naturally switch to his more favoured right side.
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CB- Kurt Zouma
The young France international has been integrated more regularly into the Chelsea team this season, with mixed results. At times, he has been superb, such as his performance in a win against Arsenal, although his performance at Newcastle left much to be desired. However, having played only 45 minutes for France in the international break, he should give Chelsea fresh legs at the back.
CB- John Terry (C)
Expect Terry to captain the side on Saturday. Despite his under-par performance against Southampton, this game seems tailor-made for Terry with him being the most capable Chelsea defender to deal with the aerial threat of Rudy Gestede. His international retirement should mean that he is fresh, while, without Ivanovic available, he is a much-needed leader at the back.
LB- Abdul Baba Rahman
The absence of Ivanovic and Azpilicueta's inevitable switch to right back should see the full Premier League debut of Chelsea's £21m summer signing from Augsburg. The Ghanaian international missed his nation's friendly with Canada due to US visa complications. Therefore, he should have fresh legs and provide Chelsea with an energetic, attacking option down the left.
CM- Cesc Fabregas
Despite the Spanish playmaker's poor form, Mourinho has continued to pick Fabregas in Chelsea's midfield. Don't expect that to change on Saturday. Mourinho sees Fabregas' eye for a pass as a vital cog in a successful Chelsea team. Besides, Fabregas did manage to find some form by assisting a goal for Paco Alcacer in Spain's 4-0 win over Luxembourg. He did then miss a penalty against Ukraine three days later, but that was the only black mark on a promising international break for Fabregas.
CM- Ruben Loftus-Cheek
What all Chelsea fans have been waiting for. The England U-21 international has been promised game time in the wake of the Southampton defeat. When answering calls for youth, Jose stated that he was ready to give Loftus-Cheek a run of games and a chance to prove himself. He seems to have taken confidence from this, scoring in a man-of-the-match performance for England U-21 against Kazakhstan on Tuesday.
Chelsea's £21.7m summer signing from Barcelona got off to a flyer on his debut against West Brom. He has since fallen away, along with several other Chelsea players. However, his ability to provide goals from a wide area makes him a likely starter in a game that Chelsea have to win.
Unfair on Oscar who has been one of Chelsea's slightly brighter players this season, however, Willian's recent contribution means he can't be left out. Four successful free-kicks in his last four games for Chelsea have made him somewhat of a specialist. That with his pace on the break makes him a valuable asset to this Chelsea team.
LM- Eden Hazard
Last year's player of the season makes up the three behind the striker. He cannot be left out of such a vital game, no matter what form he is in. With two goals in his two games for Belgium over the break, his confidence may be back, in which case he completes a frightening trio behind the front man.
ST- Diego Costa
Fresh back from a suspension and relieved of international duty by Vicente Del Bosque, Costa should be fit a raring to go. After many critics have had their say on his style of play, this is the perfect opportunity for Costa to silence the doubters against an Aston Villa side that have been leaking goals. He is a shoe-in to play after the performances of Falcao and Remy left much to be desired in his absence.
Who would make your Chelsea starting XI for this weekend's fixture with Villa? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below!
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