Chelsea return to Premier League action against Cardiff City on Saturday following the international break. Jose Mourinho’s young eggs made an impression on the big stage with four players getting on the scoresheet for their respective countries.
Kevin De Bruyne could return to the squad having scored for Belgium against Wales, while Andre Schurrle’s hat-trick heroics for Germany would have seen him into the starting XI had he not picked up a muscle strain. Juan Mata’s recent rejuvenation was complete as he came off the bench to score for Spain, securing their place for Brazil 2014.
Oscar has been one of the first names on the Chelsea teamsheet this season and scored twice for Brazil in their friendly wins over Zambia and South Korea. Despite this, the 22-year-old is unlikely to start for the Blues having only returned from Southeast Asia on Wednesday morning, along with David Luiz and Ramires.
Chelsea are heading into four matches in 10 days that include a trip to Romania in the Champions League, so Mourinho will want all of his players fully fit for that intense run of fixtures.
Ashley Cole and Fernando Torres sat out for England and Spain, respectively, as they continue their recoveries from rib and knee injuries. Simon Johnson of the Evening Standard reports that Cole will be assessed ahead of Saturday’s match but is unlikely to be risked, opening up a place for Ryan Bertrand in the starting XI.
Mourinho told his Friday press conference that Torres has now recovered and is available for selection, although Samuel Eto’o and Demba Ba will continue to challenge for his place up front. Eto’o is still struggling to adapt to the physicality of the Premier League, which leaves Ba to lead the line. His performance against Norwich City was greatly improved on his showing against Aston Villa, and he provided the assist for Oscar’s opening goal of the game.
Frank Lampard and Michael Essien should start in the holding midfield roles, and Gary Cahill should partner John Terry in the centre of defence after putting in a good shift for England.
Cardiff will be buoyed by their current league position, one point ahead of fierce rivals Swansea City, and the newly promoted side have certainly proven their value so far. They have already beaten Manchester City and Fulham, and Chelsea will need to be wary of the threats posed by Fraizer Campbell and Peter Whittingham.
However, with the crowd behind them, this XI should comfortably take all three points at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!