Chelsea continue their run of Premier League London derbies this weekend when they welcome Tottenham Hotspur to Stamford Bridge. The International friendlies played in midweek will give Jose Mourinho a headache for this fixture, as he tries to balance his squad for the end of season run-in.
Petr Cech is almost certain to start in goal despite being at fault for Norway’s equaliser in the dying minutes of the Czech Republic’s friendly on Wednesday. Cesar Azpilicueta’s excellent form for the Blues was rewarded with a starting spot in the Spain line-up as the reigning world champions beat Italy 1-0. Although "Dave" played the full 90 minutes, he should start against Spurs on Saturday.
Ashley Cole started for England, but was withdrawn at halftime to give Chelsea transfer target Luke Shaw his debut. Cole will likely return to the bench at Stamford Bridge this weekend with Azpilicueta replacing him at left-back. John Terry should start at centre-half with Gary Cahill partnering him. Cahill played the full 90 minutes of England’s 1-0 win over Denmark but is likely to be preferred to David Luiz on Saturday when the Brazilian’s travelling time is taken into account.
Luiz, along with fellow Brazilians Oscar, Ramires and Willian, will have to convince Mourinho that the journey to and from South Africa has had no significant impact on their fitness. With other options available, it is unlikely that Luiz will be risked for such an important fixture.
Frank Lampard may have been left on the bench at Wembley on Wednesday, but he should make the starting XI against Tottenham. Nemanja Matic should line up alongside him with Ramires available as an impact substitute.
Mourinho had said that Belgium coach Marc Wilmots' decision to leave Eden Hazard out of the starting XI would be "perfect," per the Daily Mail. Even with this precaution, the midfielder picked up a knock to his ankle less than a minute after joining the match. However, as reported by Goal.com, Chelsea’s top scorer this season believes that he will be able to start against Spurs.
Oscar opened the scoring for Brazil against South Africa and was withdrawn at half time. Having arrived back for training on Thursday, it is likely that he will start in the No. 10 role on Saturday. Three players will battle it out for the final attacking midfield spot, each with their own positives from the past week.
Willian has shown why Chelsea were prepared to gazump Spurs to sign him last summer with an impressive work rate and the stamina to fit in perfectly with Mourinho’s system. However, Andre Schurrle’s hat-trick against Fulham last weekend and Mohamed Salah’s goal for Egypt against Bosnia on Wednesday add credence to their claims for the starting role.
Samuel Eto'o played the full 90 minutes of Cameroon’s 5-1 defeat to Portugal. The veteran striker may not have found the net, but he fared better than fellow Blue Fernando Torres who failed to even make the bench for Spain. When Mourinho’s comments regarding Eto'o's form at Stamford Bridge, per The Telegraph, are taken into consideration, it is likely that we will see him start up front against Spurs.
As the second of four London derbies for Chelsea in March, it is vital that they continue the form that sees them sitting four points clear at the top of the league. The new members of the squad will have been made aware of the significance of this fixture to the supporters, and history tells us that nothing less than a win will be accepted by the Blues' faithful followers.
International results and individual performances taken from the official Chelsea website.
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