Chelsea takes on Norwich this afternoon at Stamford Bridge as the Blues hope to get back to their winning ways following losses against West Ham, Liverpool and Stoke City that now sees them just three points above the relegation zone.
Much of the teams problems have been squarely put at the feet of Mourinho after multiple altercations with referee’s and the FA, which even resulted in a Stadium ban for the match against Stoke. The Portuguese boss is safe however after the club’s technical director Michael Emenalo confirmed that the hierarchy still had faith in Mourinho and were confident that he could turn their season around.
Chelsea received good news on the recovery of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, with the Belgium No.1 looking as though he will be ready to play in December, but until then it will be Asmir Begovic once more in nets for Chelsea hoping to keep a clean sheet against the Canaries this afternoon.
Branislav Ivanovic could also return at right-back following his recent layoff, while midfielder Eden Hazard will hope to show the form that won him the PFA Player of the Year Award last season. So far the young Belgium has not lived up to the talent we all know he possesses and with rumours of a move to Real Madrid doing the rounds he desperately needs to show his love of Chelsea and play like the player we know he is.
Eden Hazard could however start the game on the bench – or be omitted altogether – after sitting out one of Belgium’s training sessions earlier this week with a fever and sore throat, according to the national team’s coach Marc Wilmots, which means if he is not fit to play Brazilian, Oscar would get the nod.
Chelsea’s back-four will revert to last season’s winning combination of Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry and Azpilicueta, while the midfield will feature arguably Chelsea best player this season Willian who will partner Hazard, Pedro and Fabregas in the centre of the park. Spanish international Fabregas looked brilliant playing for Spain in their recent friendly against England in Alicante getting over 100 touches of the ball, which makes us believe that there is a confidence problem at Chelsea which is causing the teams problems.
Diego Costa will start up front for the Blues and is desperate to start scoring knowing that his starter status at the club could be in jeopardy come January should Mourinho sign a new striker despite all the talk saying he was happy with the players he has.
We are sick of using the phrase that it is a must win match for Chelsea, but just the season before a match against Norwich at Stamford Bridge would have been looked upon as three-points in the bag even before the first ball was kicked, this time round however the ground will be full of nervous fans not knowing what to expect.
Anyway here is how we think Chelsea will line-up this afternoon against Alex Neil’s team.