As Chelsea's season keeps hitting brand new lows, it's starting to seem like we're not only out of answers, but we're out of solutions as well. Sure, Mourinho could try playing more youth -- Bertrand Traore at center forward and Ruben Loftus-Cheek in midfield are two obvious suggestions -- but he hasn't nor is he seemingly willing to do so. Certainly not with still some hope left of achieving something this season.
While in the league we might be aiming for top half at best, and thus perhaps opening up opportunities for the previously mentioned fabled youth, in Europe, with the knockout rounds beckoning (where, as we know well, anything can happen), we will, for better or worse, probably keep faith with the players who brought us so far in the past couple seasons. If we are to score an unlikely European trophy, we will be relying on them to do so.
The claim is that we will be looking to win, but that doesn't necessarily mean we'll be looking to attack. Porto, as we learned on matchday 2, carry plenty of threat and we'll no doubt play with a bit more conservative outlook. This means Ramires in midfield -- he's only missed the two games against Maccabi Tel-Aviv in Europe so far this season -- and Azpilicueta at left back, instead of the less defensively sound options of Fabregas and Baba Rahman, respectively. I wouldn't expect Fabregas to be dropped entirely (is he ever?), even if doing so wouldn't raise too many eyebrows.
Others pick themselves. And that means the following predicted lineup for this all-important European clash under the bright Wednesday night lights:
Courtois | Azpilicueta, Terry (if fit), Zouma, Ivanovic | Matic, Ramires | Hazard, Fabregas, Willian | Costa
As usual, the community's choices are a bit adventurous, though at the exact time of this writing, Ivanovic wins out by two (2) votes over Baba as the second fullback.
Courtois | Azpilicueta, Cahill, Zouma, Ivanovic | Matic, Loftus-Cheek | Pedro, Hazard, Willian | Costa