Chelsea FC striker Samuel Eto’o is yet to recover from his hamstring injury, while Ashley Cole returns to the squad against Stoke City.
Chelsea host Stoke City at Stamford Bridge today as they look to get back to winning ways following two defeats in their last two matches – against Crystal Palace and PSG. In fact Jose Mourinho’s men will be glad to return to Stamford Bridge following their rest run of poor results away from home.
Mourinho doesn’t have any new injury concerns ahead of this match against Stoke City. Ramires will continue to serve his suspension in the Premier League, while Ashley Cole, whose last appearance for the Blues was against Stoke City in the FA Cup back in January, has recovered from his knee ligament injury and is back with the first team squad – although the England international is unlikely to play any part in this match.
There were slight concerns about the fitness of David Luiz ahead of Chelsea’s midweek Champions League clash against PSG, following his early substitution in the match against Crystal Place with a knock, but the Brazilian international played the whole ninety minutes in France. Samuel Eto’o, who missed the trip to Paris, is yet to recover from his hamstring injury, which forced him to be substituted in the opening 10 minutes of the game against Arsenal. Mourinho refused to provide any date for his possible return, but considering his concerns with the lack of options upfront, he will certainly hope for a quick recovery of the former Barcelona striker. Marco van Ginkel remains the only other concern at the moment. The 21-year-old has made good progress recently, but is still long way from making his return to the first team squad. Mourinho also confirmed that John Obi Mikel is injured and out of contention for selection.
“John Mikel Obi is injured, Eto’o is injured. Van Ginkel is on his way back but still playing with the Under-21s. Ashley Cole is back with the squad.” – The Chelsea manager said.
When asked about the possible return date of Samuel Eto’o, Mourinho said: “For sure, he will be ready this season but I cannot say a match or a date when I’m expecting him to be back.”
Jose Mourinho opted to play with a false nine against PSG with Andre Schurrle starting upfront, despite the presence of Fernando Torres on bench, but Eto’o injured, the Chelsea manager is expected to start with Torres in this game. He is expected to make four changes to the starting line-up he used in the midweek.
Torres will lead the line upfront, while Willian, who didn’t have a good game against PSG, could dropped from the side along with Schurrle. Mourinho is likely to hand over Mohamed Salah his first Premier League start, against Stoke City, since joining the club in January. In the midfield David Luiz, who scored an own goal against PSG, and Ramires, who is suspended for this game, will make way for Nemanja Matic and Frank Lampard.
Expected starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Cech (GK); Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Azpilicueta; Matic, Lampard; Salah, Oscar, Hazard; Torres