Guus Hiddink's selection headaches are increasing by the minute ahead of Monday night's match at Old Trafford. Or, I suppose, another way to look at it is that with his options slowly dwindling, perhaps by the time kick-off rolls around, the team will basically pick themselves.
We had already known that Chelsea would be without Saturday's two-goal man Diego Costa, but now it sounds like neither Loic Remy ("a minor injury") nor Radamel Falcao (lacking match fitness) are fully healthy. Another option for the center forward role would be Eden Hazard, but he's still feeling the effects of his hip injury as well.
"He [Hazard] came in a bit late because we sent him away for holidays for a few days and because of his injuries. He came back and he trained the last three days with us. For me, he is not top fit yet but very fresh in his mind and that's important, so he has to also get training and games."
-Guus Hiddink; source: Telegraph
Additionally, as the squad arrived safely in Manchester Sunday night, it turned out that they did so without Cesc Fabregas. And no, it's not a Home Alone situation.
Chelsea sources claimed Fabregas had a fever on Sunday night, but the Spaniard's no-show comes on the back of a turbulent run of events.
Certainly, the timing of the injury could be controversial, but as with Hazard's hip pointer, until we know for sure otherwise, it's prudent to assume that Fabregas is indeed ailing enough to have to miss the trip. Especially if whatever's causing his fever is contagious, he should be staying at home and not spreading it to everyone else in the squad.
Given Cesc's poor showing on Saturday, Hiddink may have opted to go with Mikel from the start regardless. That now seems a certainty. The situation is far less clear up front, where our options seem to be to field someone not fully healthy or go without a recognized center forward. We're going to need all the Hiddink magic and then some!