It was only a matter of time before Chelsea’s dreadful start to the season caught up with a few of their senior players, and it looks like several of Jose Mourinho’s misfiring team will be dropped for the game against Maccabi Tel Aviv on Wednesday night.
According to Matt Law in the Daily Telegraph (and every other paper has run with the same information), John Terry, Diego Costa, Nemanja Matic and Branislav Ivanovic will all drop to the bench for Chelsea’s opening Champions League tie.
The Telegraph report that Ruben Loftus-Cheek will be given his first Champions League start in midfield in place of Matic, with Loic Remy deputising for Costa. Baba Rahman will be given his Chelsea debut at left-back, replacing Ivanovic with Cesar Azpilicueta moving over to the right. Finally, Gary Cahill will come back into the side at the expense of Kurt Zouma.
For his part, Mourinho is insistent that his changes will be made with one eye on Saturday lunchtime’s game against Arsenal. Yet there is a suspicion that should his side play well without their stars on Wednesday, the likes of Terry and Ivanovic will struggle to regain their place for the weekend.
“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,” said Mourinho.
“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.”
Yeah, sorry Jose. We’re saying it now.