Chelsea get their Champions League season off with a potentially-tricky home tie against German side Schalke on Wednesday. Jose Mourinho’s men will be keen to avoid an opening day defeat like last season, when the Blues were shocked at Stamford Bridge by Swiss outfit Basel.
Chelsea met Schalke in the group stages last year as well, and dominated both the encounters. They won 3-0 both home and away, with 5 out of the 6 goals being scored by out-of-form strikers. This season, their strikers are firing on all cylinders and will be expected to deliver once again.
They will buoyed by injuries to several key players to Schalke, but will know that they will have to be at their best to kick things off with three points. Expectations surrounding Chelsea Football Club are very high this season, after last season’s semi-final finish. The squad has been strengthened in the summer, and many believe that the Blues are right up there with Real Madrid and Bayern Munich as favourites for the Champions League.
Mourinho faces the challenge of choosing a strong side, while also keeping an eye on this Sunday’s game against Manchester City in the Champions League. Maintaining the right balance is extremely essential for Chelsea, as they bid to win both the competitions.
Schalke have big-time injury problems, with Julian Draxler, Max Meyer and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar all being major doubts. Jefferson Farfan, Atsuto Uchida, Sead Kolasinac and Joel Matip are all definitely out.
Chelsea beat Swansea City 4-2 at the weekend to continue their perfect start to the Premier League, but there are expected to be several changes to the side that started that day. Petr Cech is set to make his season debut in goal, after being displaced by Thibaut Courtois in the league. Left-back Filipe Luis is also set for his first start in a Blues shirt, following a couple of substitute appearances thus far.
With the weekend game in mind, striker Diego Costa is also likely to be rested. Frenchman Loic Remy, who scored on debut at the weekend, is set for a start. The midfield may be unchanged, in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Mourinho likely to field the 4-3-3 against City.
The following is the possible Chelsea starting XI against Schalke:
Chelsea look far too strong for an injury-laden Schalke side and look set for a comfortable start in this season’s Champions League. The defence has been a bit of a concern, as clean sheets have been hard to come by, but this is game offers the perfect opportunity to put in a flawless performance ahead of the weekend’s clash with Premier League champions Manchester City.
Chelsea 2-0 Schalke