Jose Mourinho's preparing for his second first friendly in charge of the club tomorrow, and he's already decided who'll be playing. With more than a few guys missing thanks to the Confederations Cup, we're not going to see anything like the strongest lineups possible... but that's ok. This is the Singa All-Stars in a game that doesn't matter one bit.
Here are the lineups, as confirmed by Chelsea.
- This could be a 4-3-3 pretty easily if Mourinho decides Essien's capable of playing a lone holder role and drops de Bruyne back into midfield. I'm not sure that'll happen, since the Belgain's workload's going to be pretty high tomorrow, but this isn't a guaranteed 4-2-3-1.
- Wallace at right back! Kalas at centre back! These are exciting times.
- Andre Schurrle makes his Chelsea debut. I have a pretty good feeling about him. Must be the suits.
Jamal Blackman; Ryan Bertrand, Nathaniel Chalobah, Gary Cahill, Branislav Ivanovic; Ramires, Marco van Ginkel; Victor Moses, Eden Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne; Demba Ba.
- Unlike the first half lineup, this is almost certainly a 4-2-3-1. And it's not a very sturdy one, with Ramires and van Ginkel comprising the pivot. Then again, it's a friendly.
- One talking point will be the presence of Chalobah in the back line. Don't take this as an indication that he's being transitioned permanently to the defence -- it's simply because Chelsea don't have any real options back there. Cesar Azpilicueta and David Luiz are still on holiday, so Chalobah gets to slot in.
- Mourinho's taking his promise of playing time for de Bruyne seriously.
- Hazard central, de Bruyne wide? Could be an interesting choice if it happens, but I don't think we're likely to see Hazard stay in the middle for long.
- Fernando Torres is excluded because he isn't with the squad. Not because Mourinho hates him.