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Predicted Chelsea lineup against AFC Bournemouth: Courtois, Costa both to start

Julian Finney/Getty Images

Usually, I like to wait with these things until after the manager's press conference, but considering that Mourinho almost never really reveals anything definitive as far as injuries or availabilities go, we're probably not missing out on any crucial information.  (Now watch him reveal the exact starting eleven like that one time.)

For example, Mourinho might hint at whether Thibaut Courtois will get the start straight away, having recovered from knee surgery, or he might just say that he will decide tomorrow.  Or that he already knows, but he'll never tell, not even the players, until the last moment.  Management!  I'm assuming Courtois will get the nod, though it's worth noting that a few weeks ago, it was the Porto match that was set as the tentative return target.

In defense, the only real question might be who will partner Kurt Zouma at center back.  Assuming Terry's fully recovered, my guess is that it will be the Captain.  Full backs should be as usual and Gary Cahill, despite his new contract extension, will probably return to the bench after two straight starts.

Ramires is another new contract man, and another one who's recovering from a knock.  I don't think this game is for him, though Porto midweek could very well be.  One person who I'd like to see start is Ruben Loftus-Cheek, but I'm assuming it'll be Cesc Fàbregas once again.  Then again, these were the sorts of games precisely for which we signed Cesc in the first place: to help us control and dominate and create against "lesser" sides.

All four of our main attacking midfielders played against Spurs — that won't happen again with most media outlets reporting that Diego Costa will be restored to center forward.  So one of the four has to drop out; my guess is that it will be Oscar, who probably had the weakest showing of the lot against Spurs.  Either Willian or Hazard could play the no.10 role in this case.

With all that in mind, the predicted lineup should once again look quite familiar.  That's not necessarily a bad thing, and it also means that (finally) the squad is growing in confidence and getting fully healthy.

Courtois | Azpilicueta, Terry, Zouma, Ivanović | Matić, Fàbregas | Hazard, Willian, Pedro | Costa


The community's choice is a party in the back and all business up front.  It's a lineup mullet!

Courtois | Baba, Cahill, Zouma, Azpilicueta | Matić, Loftus-Cheek | Hazard, Oscar, Willian | Costa

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