Chelsea face Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Monday night hoping to kick-start their season as they sit just a point above the relegation zone.
Despite threatening to get their season on track, the reigning Premier League champions have continued to disappoint as they have lost eight of their first 15 games of the season.
While that has likely ended their title hopes, Jose Mourinho will still be aiming for a top-four finish but if they have a realistic chance of achieving that objective, then they need to turn things around quickly.
It won’t be easy on Monday against a Leicester side that had been top of the pile ahead of the weekend’s fixtures, but wins for both Arsenal and Manchester City have seen them fall to third in the standings although they remain just a point off top spot.
With Mourinho set to lock horns with his old adversary Claudio Ranieri again, who will the Portuguese tactician play in this hugely important game? Here is our predicted XI…
Mourinho will be tempted to keep faith in the same side that defeated Porto in the Champions League last week, as ultimately consistency is now key.
Thibaut Courtois will continue after recently returning from injury, while John Terry and Kurt Zouma will be tasked with attempting to keep Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and others quiet.
Nemanja Matic and Ramires are expected to be selected in midfield, which in turn means that Cesc Fabregas could be forced to continue to sit on the bench as he struggles to find his best form this season.
Chelsea’s best player so far this year, Willian, will form part of an attacking trident that will look to support Diego Costa, and Mourinho will certainly be hoping that the pace and quality on the ball that that trio provide will help them take advantage of the hosts on the counter attack.
Having experimented with playing Hazard in the No.9 role in recent weeks, Mourinho will likely start with Costa up front again. However, the Spaniard is under real pressure having scored just four goals in 19 appearances in all competitions, and so his coach will be hoping to see that record improve sooner rather than later.
Whether or not the Blues can pick up a morale boosting result remains to be seen, and so Mourinho faces a nervous wait to see whether or not they can return home with all three points which would undoubtedly give the entire club belief that they’re finally on the right path.