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Predicted Chelsea lineup against Stoke City: PSG dress rehearsal

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Guus Hiddink, much like Jose Mourinho before him, doesn't seem to be a fan of squad rotation just for the sake of rotation.  The lineup that we played against Norwich City on Tuesday is probably as extensive as it gets, and considering that some of the players that came in, namely Matic and Oscar, failed to impress, there's a good chance that we won't be seeing them in a starting capacity anytime soon.

Then again, Hiddink, much like Mourinho before him, also doesn't seem to be a fan of playing the youth just for the sake of playing the youth.  Sure, he has given chances to Traore, Kenedy, and Loftus-Cheek, but they've mostly come in cup games or as late-game substitutions in blowout wins.  That both Traore and Kenedy started on Tuesday is an outlier of massive proportions rather than an indication of things to come.

So, for Saturday's game against Stoke City, given the continuing injury-enforced absences of Pedro and John Terry, the question becomes youth vs. second chances.  Does Kenedy get another shot at left back, or do we hope that Baba Rahman has figured out defense in the last few days (which will be needed, especially if Terry doesn't recover in time for PSG)?  Does Traore get another start at right wing, or do we try to create some synergy between whichever trio is most likely to start against PSG (especially if Pedro doesn't recover in time)?  How many more chances does Nemanja Matic get and is this one of them?

Depending on who plays and who doesn't, there are several viable permutations for the starting lineup on Saturday.  My guess is we go with what is most likely to be our lineup against PSG (the two key injuries aside), both as a bit of a dress rehearsal and as an attempt at ensuring that our suddenly promising quest for European spots in the league continues as well.

Courtois | Baba, Ivanovic, Cahill, Azpilicueta | Mikel, Fabregas | Hazard, Oscar, Willian | Costa

You'll note that said starting eleven is the same exact lineup we used for three games straight before the Norwich City rotation, minus an injured Pedro.  I have Oscar deputizing for the stricken winger, but for the community, in one of the more closely contested lineup votes of recent times, it's Traore who replaces Pedro.  I could see either configuration.

Courtois | Baba, Ivanovic, Cahill, Azpilicueta | Mikel, Fabregas | Hazard, Willian, Traore | Costa

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