Probable Chelsea Starting Lineup vs Stoke City – FA Cup

Probable Chelsea Starting Lineup vs Stoke City – FA Cup

Flickr - Ronnie Macdonald

On Sunday, January 26th Chelsea play a vulnerable Stoke City in the FA Cup.  Below is the probable lineup and formation:

Formation: 4-2-3-1

Goalkeeper: Mark Schwarzer

The backup goalkeeper should receive a consecutive start in the competition following a clean sheet against Derby County.  Mourinho is not afraid to use the former Fulham keeper and will look to rest his Czech starter.

Right Back:  César Azpilicueta

The versatile fullback who has been favored in front of long time left back Ashley Cole will be starting on the other side of the pitch.  Branislav Ivanovic started against Manchester United last week and will be given a well deserved rest.

Center backs: Gary Cahill and John Terry

The English pair in the back have proven to be the best chance Chelsea have to keeping a clean sheet.  Their reliability and strength are necessary to match Stoke’s aerial abilities and a high set piece conversion rate.

Holding Midfielders: Frank Lampard and Nemanja Matic

Lampard is back from a muscle injury and was put back into the squad against Manchester United. He did not play the last match, and is back to full fitness, so it is likely we will see the legendary midfielder back on the pitch.  For his second spell at Chelsea, Matic got his first few minutes against Manchester United.  This competition is excellent for him to prove himself and Stoke’s height and power will be a worthy test for the former Benfica man.

Left Wing: Eden Hazard

The young Belgian superstar has been proving himself to be one of the best players in the world. His low center of gravity and quick feet simply cannot be defended.  His trademark cut into the corner of the box and curled shot into the side netting are proving to be lethal and it is hard to imagine a Chelsea lineup without him.

Right Wing: Willian

The Brazilian has slowly gained trust from boss Jose Mourinho but has turned into a regular in the Chelsea squad.  He will surely be looking to score with only two goals in his last thirteen matches.

Center Attacking Midfield: Oscar

With Juan Mata in the midst of rumors and transfers, it will be Willian’s fellow Brazilian international Oscar, taking his place behind the striker.  Oscar is having is best season with Chelsea with numerous goals and assists.

Striker: Demba Ba

Ba has been in bad form and will look to change that against Stoke.  His companion, Eto’o, was able to score three goals against Manchester United, so Ba will be looking to match such an incredible feat.