Generally speaking, Jose Mourinho has two options for Wednesday's starting lineup. He either goes with the underperforming first-choice bunch, again, hoping that the relatively easy fixture provides an opportunity for them to rediscover their form. Play through the bad spell, as it were. Or he rotates to a larger degree and gives the opportunity to the backups and the younger players instead.
It would seem he's leaning towards the latter.
The collective cheers will of course turn to jeers should Chelsea lose again -- especially if this bunch performs as badly as the backups tended up perform last season when Mourinho bemoaned the fact that none of the squad players are giving him tough decision to make as far as starting lineups were concerned. But, for now, it seems that our fate will rest with the following eleven:
GK: Asmir Begovic
D: Baba Rahman (debut!), Gary Cahill (already confirmed), Kurt Zouma (continuing to play the right side as he did when Terry was suspended), Cesar Azpilicueta (throwback right back)
M: Ruben Loftus-Cheek (first CL start), Fabregas/Ramires/Mikel
AM: Eden Hazard (undroppable like Messi/CR7), Oscar (assuming he's fit again), Willian (Kenedy/Traore wildcards)
F: Loic Remy
The big question mark is who will play next to Loftus-Cheek. Fabregas has been one of the most consistently disappointing players for us in 2015, but he would need to be in there unless we trust the attacking link-up play purely to the 19-year-old RLC. Ramires might be the best option due to his ability to contribute at both ends, but both his and Oscar's fitness levels are questionable at the moment and Mourinho may not want to rely on two players coming back from injury at the same time. Willian should rotate in for Pedro (who did not play well at all on the weekend and has apparently picked up a small injury in training) and up front, we will finally get to see Remy again (with Falcao out due to a small injury as well).
"I will make a couple of changes because I have to try a different dynamic, I have to try a couple of different faces and to give chances to people who have not been playing but have been working hard."
"I have a squad. I trust the squad. The market is closed, so you cannot even ask me about bringing new players to replace some people I might have lost some trust in. I like my squad, I like my players, I trust my players, but I have a squad."
"I don't just have 10 players. I don't have to play with the same 11. I can make changes. But I know the consequences of that because, if I make a couple of changes in my team, instead of you saying ‘he has a squad, he has more options, he is looking for a new dynamic, he wants to give a couple of chances to people who have been working hard', I know what you will say."
-Jose Mourinho; source: Telegraph
Hopefully the changes work and we're not left second-guessing the manager once again. And maybe, just maybe, a couple new heroes will emerge who can then help turn out Premier League season around as well.