Jose Mourinho gave a largely positive injury update on Friday when he said:
“We have no injuries, but Mikel is not selected, he is fine and working all week but he very tired so he is not selected but not injured.
“Diego Costa trained yesterday am today, he’s not injured, I don’t know if I’ll start him or not. I need to make a decision, but the medical department is empty.”
Elaborating on the brilliant, yet injury pestered number 9 Diego Costa, he said:
“He dedicated himself, there were no days off, he worked morning and afternoon, we did all the scans to confirm scientifically that he is all right,”
“The muscle is fine, but you need the confidence to play with intensity and be free to express yourself at maximum intensity. That’s our doubt, but he will be selected for sure.”
We think that this comment has all the hallmarks of Costa starting the match against Stoke. But, of all the remaining Chelsea fixtures, perhaps this is one in which the Spaniard could be rested. His muscular problems are clearly niggling him and if he was to exacerbate the problem now Chelsea could be without him for a protracted period at the most important part of the season.
Of course, Chelsea are virtually home and hosed in the race for the title. But they still have some winning to do and they will surely want all of their big boys available for the fixtures against Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool.
Loic Remy is a top player who has only turned out 26 times for Chelsea this season – many of those appearances came off the bench. So he’s fresh as an uncut daisy and perhaps it would be prudent to play him form the start, with Diego on the bench if needed.
So he goes into our XI, as does Ramires who plays alongside Matic in the midfield with Cesc restored to his most dangerous position at number ten. Sorry Oscar.
Here’s our most canny XI for a game which can take Chelsea ever closer to the almost inevitable title.