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Predicted Chelsea lineup against Maccabi Tel-Aviv: To rotate or not to rotate, that is the question

Paul Gilham/Getty Images

For the first time in many moons, we actually got a predicted lineup almost entirely correct over the weekend.  Other than the surprise of Kenedy playing left back -- and if you foresaw that, you need to be betting and subsequently winning millions on the lottery or the stock market or daily fantasy or some other high risk, high reward form of gambling -- and the toss-up between picking Kurt Zouma's partner in central defense, our prediction game was almost as much on point as Chelsea's play against Norwich City.

Our confidence boosted, just like the squad's, we now face the dilemma of what should be, on paper, an easy Champions League away day.  (As much as such a thing as an easy away day in Europe's premier club competition can happen.)  Further complicating matters is that it is a crucial match as far as qualification for the knockout round is concerned.  We cannot afford dropped points.

When the Israeli champions came to Stamford Bridge in September, Mourinho rolled with just a slightly changed lineup, giving Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Baba Rahman much-needed opportunities.  Given the magnitude of this match and the need for the usual first-choice players to continue to rediscover and reassert themselves ahead of Sunday's trip to White Hart Lane, I wouldn't expect any large scale changes this time either.

So, here's a pure guess as to what Mourinho might opt for, keeping in mind that his emphasis on avoiding complacency could indicate that most of the "big names" is whom he's looking to play.

Begovic | Azpilicueta, Cahill, Zouma, Ivanovic | Matic, Fabregas | Pedro/Oscar, Hazard, Willian | Costa

And then hopefully a bunch of kids off the bench, like Loftus-Cheek, Traore, etc.


The community's preferred choice is a bit more generous towards the young, and drops Fabregas to the bench.  That seems unlikely to happen, but perhaps it turns out to be RLC's lucky day after all.

Begovic | Baba, Cahill, Zouma, Azpilicueta | Matic, Loftus-Cheek | Oscar/Hazard, Hazard/Oscar, Willian | Costa

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