How Chelsea Will Line Up Against Cardiff City in Premier League Finale

Rowanne WesthenryFeatured ColumnistMay 10, 2014

"Have you heard the funny joke about the referee who didn't see a penalty?" "Yes Mr. Mourinho, but don't you think you've picked up enough fines this season?"
"Have you heard the funny joke about the referee who didn't see a penalty?" "Yes Mr. Mourinho, but don't you think you've picked up enough fines this season?"Clive Rose/Getty Images

Chelsea will play their final game of the season away at Cardiff City. Last weekend’s results mean that neither side has anything to play for, as Chelsea will be unable to win the Premier League title and Cardiff had their relegation confirmed.

Despite this, both teams will want to sign off the 2013-14 season with a flourish.

In his weekly press conference, Jose Mourinho gave his view on the Blues' campaign as a whole:

It's not the kind of season we celebrate. We are not jumping because in such a difficult Premier League we finished third and qualified for the Champions League group phase without play-offs, but we knew when the season started it was possible this was going to happen.

For some teams the third position is something they live with in a happy way; we don't, I don't. That's why we are turning our focus to preparations for next season.

He also had some words for one of Chelsea's most consistent players this season, centre-half Gary Cahill:

Gary has had an absolutely fantastic season. Two-and-a-half seasons at Chelsea now and for sure this one was the most complete one.

I believe with no doubt he is first choice for the national team. The experience of a World Cup is part of a player's career and a player's evolution.

He's really at the top of his game. After that is his personality: he's a humble guy who wants to learn, accepts criticism and reacts positively to feedback. As a player and as a boy I like him very much.

Cahill is likely to start at Cardiff, although John Terry will be missing after picking up a knock in training on Thursday. After his successful debut at Anfield, Tomas Kalas should deputise for the captain at centre-half, with Cesar Azpilicueta and Branislav Ivanovic completing the back line.

Frank Lampard will also miss this game with a virus that has left him bedridden. David Luiz is the most likely choice to replace the Englishman alongside Nemanja Matic in the holding role.

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 19:  Oscar of Chelsea reacts to a missed chance during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Sunderland at Stamford Bridge on April 19, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Per the Guardian, Oscar has been struggling with a hip injury and is unlikely to feature in the squad. The Brazilian admitted that he has had one eye on the World Cup for a while now, and he will not want to jeopardise his chances of playing in the tournament for a game of no significance.

By contrast, Eden Hazard spoke this week of wanting to end the season on a high:

We want to win for our fans and we want to end the season on a good note. I want to finish the season with three points with Chelsea and then I can start thinking about the World Cup.

Hazard is likely to start on the left, with Andre Schurrle in the No. 10 role and Willian on the right.

Samuel Eto'o was injured in training on Friday and has not scored away from Stamford Bridge in what is likely to be his only season at Chelsea. Despite Demba Ba's far superior minutes-per-goal ratio, Fernando Torres is likely to start at Cardiff.

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A lot of the players may have one eye on the World Cup, but Mourinho is already thinking about his second season since returning to Stamford Bridge:

I like being back and I enjoyed most of the things that have happened. I don't enjoy defeats but to lose, for example, at Crystal Palace, is English football. To lose at Newcastle, in spite of a very good first half, that's English football.

To lose like we did against Sunderland and Aston Villa is not English football, but what's happened has happened. In football if you stay too much with the past, good or bad, good memories or bad memories, it's not the best way to prepare for the future.


Injury news and quotes sourced from the Official Chelsea Website unless otherwise noted.