After declaring that “the football world would kill [him]” if he named a weakened team against Chelsea, José Mourinho has named a weakened team against Chelsea. For the first time this season in a meaningful match, Zlatan Ibrahimović is on the bench, alongside Thursday’s goal-scorer Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Instead, Marcus Rashford spearheads the attack, flanked by Jesse Lingard and the returning Ashley Young. Young not only makes a rare appearance as an attacker, but also captains the side today.
In midfield, Ander Herrera returns to the starting XI, joining Marouane Fellaini and Paul Pogba. At the back, it’s the same rearguard that played against Anderlecht: Antonio Valencia, Eric Bailly, Marcos Rojo, and - for some reason - Matteo Darmian. Behind them, David de Gea is back from
being dropped after a row his hip injury.
Besides Ibra and Mkhi, Mourinho has a wealth of riches to choose from when he decides to make his negative substitutions, with four players available who can play full-back or defensive midfield. Anthony Martial, who was desperately poor on Thursday, has been dropped from the squad altogether. That should do wonders for his confidence.
For Chelsea, it’s the same side that has steamrolled the league all season, with one key change: Begović replaces the injured Thibaut Courtois.
Chelsea team today: Begovic; Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Cahill (c); Moses, Kante, Matic, Alonso; Pedro, Diego Costa, Hazard. #MUNCHE— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 16, 2017