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Predicted Chelsea lineup against Dynamo Kiev: Hazard, Matic restored

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Not much time to recover between Saturday and Tuesday, especially when the opposition, who are at home, get an extra day even -- something that Mourinho already had a quick moan about -- so it could very well be that the Chelsea manager rotates based on fitness above all else as we roll into the Ukrainian capital looking for three useful points in the Champions League.

A loss would not be the end of the world.  The second half of our group stage schedule is much easier than the first with home matches against the two big boys and an away (or neutral-site) date against Maccabi Tel-Aviv.  But as we try to recover a semblance of good form and hope for the season ahead, a win (or at least a draw) would sure be nice.

As usual, a few things are given.  Asmir Begovic will continue in goal, Diego Costa will continue at forward.  Willian's perhaps our most in-form player, and while he seemed to run himself ragged on Saturday, he surely will be up for a return to the country where he made his name.  Cesc Fabregas will continue.  Forever.  And ever.  It is known.  Chances are, Eden Hazard will be back following his public dressing down.  Apparently he's trained well enough, and his replacement on Saturday, Pedro, didn't even travel with the squad.

"If he plays tomorrow, I don't tell you. The players don't know."

"Last season he won one of the most important titles in football, which is the Premier League, and [he was] absolutely decisive for Chelsea. Last season he had a phenomenal season."

"How did he train? He trained like Eden."

-Jose Mourinho; source: ESPN

In defense, one of Cahill, Terry, or Baba is set to miss out.  Considering that Dynamo like to play with tiny but quick Junior Moraes up front, perhaps it will be Terry to draw the short straw.

And that leaves two spots in central midfield open, one of which is bound to be filled by Oscar, who played no part against Villa, and the other by Nemanja Matic, who's currently the subject of much personal attention from the manager.

"Confidence is fundamental. Matic lost an easy pass when he came on, on Saturday, and the first reaction he had was to show a disappointment. When you are full of confidence you don't show disappointment. You make a mistake, you know that you're not going to make another mistake after. So [stay] calm, let's go step by step.

"I try to make him choose the decisions where it's more difficult to make a mistake. If you want to dribble, if you want to put the ball through the legs of the opponent, if you want to make a beautiful pass like you sometimes do, looking to one side and putting [the ball the other] ... these are the things that you do only when the confidence levels are high. When you are a little bit fragile, keep it simple. Think quick, make the right decision, take the ball out of the pressure zone. Don't be worried about making a beautiful pass. Just make sure you don't lose the ball because, if you lose the ball, you lose confidence."

-Jose Mourinho; source: Guardian

I suppose there's an outside chance that Ramires retains his place from the weekend at the expense of any one of the midfield five, especially if we're perhaps looking to lock things down from the start and aim for a draw.  Though in that case, we might even see a certain John Obi Mikel out there.

There is no obvious midfield setup that I can see for us at the moment, so this predicted lineup, which has a rather familiar look about it, could indicate ambitions that are perhaps beyond us at the moment.  Still, I think we'll take a chance here, rather than this weekend, away to West Ham.

Begovic | Baba, Cahill, Zouma, Azpilicueta | Matic, Fabregas | Hazard, Oscar, Willian | Costa


The people's choice for the starting lineup, meanwhile, is something like:

Begovic | Baba, Terry, Cahill, Azpilicueta | Matic, Zouma | Hazard, Fabregas, Willian | Costa

Special thanks to the troll who tried to ruin it for the rest of us by stuffing the ballot box.  Your mother must be very proud.

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