Chelsea’s last Premier League match before the international break is a trip to Merseyside to face Everton at Goodison Park. There will be plenty of focus on how Romelu Lukaku performs against his former club, especially with the striker’s replacement at Chelsea suffering an injury scare.
Diego Costa tweaked his hamstring in training on Wednesday and, according to Goal.com, is being assessed by the club’s medical staff. There is no word yet on whether he will be fit to face the Toffees, but Metro is suggesting that he could be out for up to six weeks.
That would certainly leave Jose Mourinho with a selection headache. Fernando Torres was not even in the squad for the match against Leicester City but could be drafted in to cover for Costa despite rumours of his imminent departure to AC Milan, per Sky Sports. If Torres is busy packing his bags, the Blues will be left reliant on Didier Drogba to play up front, with Andre Schurrle the only viable alternative.
The likelihood of Schurrle being needed to cover up front could hand Willian his first start of the season. The Brazilian was unlucky not to score against Leicester at Stamford Bridge, and his strength and pace could be crucial at Goodison.
Eden Hazard and Oscar should complete the trio behind the striker. The Blues’ top goalscorer from last season opened his account against Leicester and will provide pace on the left, while Oscar’s total of seven tackles over two games will help to keep the likes of Lukaku at bay.
There is a good team, technically gifted and physically strong, a great balance and a lot of winning mentality and I’m feeling comfortable. Everyone mixed with me really well and I am feeling good. There is a lot of competition too and we have a great bench as well and we are really excited about the season with so many games, so many competitions and we are really up for it.
The Premier League has changed a little bit since I was first here. I feel technically it has improved. The teams are better organised, the balance is much better and from tactical point of view they have improved much more than when I was first here.
Everton are certainly one of those teams that have improved during Fabregas’ time in Spain, and he will need to play as well as he has so far alongside Nemanja Matic to help unlock their defence.
Filipe Luis was brought in to replace Ashley Cole at left-back, and it seems as though he is emulating the Englishman's last season in London. He is yet to make his competitive debut for the club, as Cesar Azpilicueta continues to impress despite playing out of position.
Gary Cahill and John Terry show no sign of giving up their central defensive partnership, while Branislav Ivanovic’s goal against Burnley should secure his spot at right-back.
Petr Cech has got only a few days left to make a decision about where his future lies before the transfer window closes. Mourinho has made it clear that Thibaut Courtois will be his first choice for the foreseeable future but that Cech will have opportunities when the cup competitions begin after the international break, per Sam Wallace at The Independent.
Mourinho’s main decision hinges on Costa’s fitness, and a significant spell on the sidelines for the striker could see the Special One returning to the transfer market. However, no deals are likely to be confirmed before Saturday’s evening kick-off, making this the most likely XI for him to start against Everton.
Statistics from WhoScored.com