Shrewsbury vs Chelsea: Jose Mourinho could pick a 'B' team worth £130m at New Meadow

Some question marks remain but there is more than enough talent

Tom Sheen@Tom_Sheen
Tuesday 28 October 2014 13:23
Jose Mourinho issues instructions to his players
Jose Mourinho issues instructions to his players

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has complained this his team "are in trouble" when they face League Two Shrewsbury Town in the Capital One Cup tonight.

Diego Costa and Loic Remy are both injured, while Mourinho is loathe to play 36-year-old veteran Didier Drogba so soon after he played 90 minutes against Manchester United.

The Portuguese has said he will have to play a number of second-choice players and youngsters against a side who sit fourth in League Two after four consecutive wins, with an eye on Queens Park Rangers at the weekend.

An added problem has arisen because Chelsea's Under-21 team played on Monday night, leaving a number of potential youngsters unavailable.

Teeangers Nathan Ake (centre) and Lewis Baker (right) could start

"We are in trouble," Mourinho said of facing the League Two side, "because we have so many injured players. It is even more difficult for us to go. We have to go. We now have a difficult match."

What could the Chelsea team look like, and how much is it worth?

Potential line-up (4-3-3): Petr Cech; Kurt Zouma, Nathan Ake, Gary Cahill, Filipe Luis; John Obi Mikel, Ramires, Lewis Baker; Mohamed Salah, Willian, Andre Schurrle.

With both Branislav Ivanovic and Cesar Azpilicueta suspended, talented 20-year-old Kurt Zouma, usually a centre-back, will likely play at right-back with Nathan Ake in the middle.

Kurt Zouma has impressed in two matches for the Blues, but will probably play at right-back because of suspension to Ivanovic and Azpilicueta

Who partners Ake in the centre will be a big question mark. There is a chance that Mourinho opts for Danish teenager Andreas Christensen, but the manager will probably want to keep an experienced head alongside Ake, so Terry or Cahill should play, despite their huge playing time so far this season.

In midfield Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic need to rest, so John Obi Mikel and Ramires will probably start in place of those two. Both have had recent injury troubles, and Ramires was not fit enough for the Old Trafford bench on Sunday.

English teenager Lewis Baker, who made his Chelsea debut in the FA Cup earlier this year, was the captain who led the Chelsea team U21 league victory last season. He permanently joined the first-team this summer, has captained England U20 and is a gifted player on the ball, in a central midfield role or behind the striker.

Further foward Mohamed Salah will start on one wing, while Mourinho could opt for either Willian or Oscar on the other. Both players are first-team regulars but have each played the full 90 minutes just three times this season, so should be reasonably fresh.

Up front is the biggest problem, with Chelsea's three main strikers unavailable. Andre Schurrle, himself only just back from illness, could operate in a 'false 9' role, as he has done on a couple of occasions before, notably at Old Trafford last season. Dominic Solanke, who made his debut against Maribor last week, is also an option but he played 90 minutes in the U21 defeat to Spurs.

Mourinho may opt to play Andre Schurrle as a 'false 9'

The line-up is not ideal and several players do have fitness and rest issues hanging over them, but with 26 players currently out on loan, including three to other Premier League clubs, Mourinho does not have cause for complaint.

The above starting XI was brought to Stamford Bridge for more than £130 million, has a combined 356 international caps, 11 league titles in five different countries, numerous FA Cups, League Cups, the Europa League, the Champions League and even a World Cup winner among them.

They should be fine.

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