SEA winger Andre Schurrle insists they can overcome Arsenal in tonight’s Capital One Cup even if manager Jose Mourinho sees through his threat to make wholesale changes for the London derby.
Mourinho has railed at the scheduling of the fixture, little more than 48 hours after their Premier League clash with title rivals Manchester City, saying it hands the Gunners, who played on Saturday, an edge and hinting that he will not select any of the players who started on Sunday.
That means the Blues could still call on midfielder Juan Mata and defender David Luiz in a starting XI that cost well in excess of £100m, and Schurrle, who is not likely to play, expects them to flourish.
“The manager will change many positions but we have high quality in every member of the squad and there will be no problem for us,” said the Germany international.
“I think Arsenal will change their players, too, and it’s going to be a good match. I’m very happy to be a part of our squad, and with a team like Chelsea you want to win every competition you are in, so we’ll do everything to win the match.”
Perhaps Mourinho’s biggest selection problem is who to select in central defence alongside Luiz, if John Terry and Gary Cahill are indeed ruled out on the basis that they contributed to the 2-1 defeat of City.
Czech youngster Tomas Kalas, 20, is the only other specialist centre-back listed in Chelsea’s first-team squad but is yet to make a senior appearance for the Blues, while veteran Michael Essien could fill in but may be needed in his more familiar midfield role.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is expected to reprise the team who beat West Brom on penalties in the last round, although midfielder Mikel Arteta’s absence through suspension enforces at least one change.
Frenchman Mathieu Flamini would be an obvious replacement but has a groin injury, leaving England’s Jack Wilshere or in-form Aaron Ramsey as the most likely replacements.
Youngsters Isaac Hayden, Ryo Myaichi and, fitness test permitting, Serge Gnabry, who yesterday penned a new contract, are expected to start, with Nicklas Bendtner set to spearhead the attack.
“The team will be a mixture, with some players who are at the moment not getting the games they need and deserve, and also one or two young players,” said Wenger.
“I have to get that mixture right and I will leave myself until [Tuesday] to decide how.”
Wenger believes tonight’s match could influence how his Premier League leaders cope with a string of big games on the horizon.
He added: “People will look at you, how you behave and whether you can win the big games. That has a certain psychological influence on the team.”
Of the XI who started in the last round, only Mikel Arteta is unavailable. Aaron Ramsey is a possible replacement.
Who partners Luiz at centre-back is the biggest question, with Kalas, 20, untested but the only other defender in the squad not to play on Sunday.
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Kevin De Bruyne
BEST FRIENDS? HOW ROW HAS COOLED
Wenger on Mourinho
“He's out of order. When you give success to stupid people, it makes them more stupid sometimes.” (Nov 2005)
“There should be sanctions. It's a pity to see it from a big game. It gives a bad image.” (On Mourinho’s Real Madrid incurring red cards, Nov 2010)
“Sometimes we go overboard and that is part of the job. With the distance after, it always settles.” (Oct 2013)
Wenger on Mourinho
“I think he is a voyeur. There are some guys who, at home, have a big telescope to see what happens in other families. He’s always talking about us.” (Oct 2005)
“He should explain to Arsenal fans how he can’t win one little trophy since 2005.” (Nov 2010)
“He’s a nice guy. When you are not in the same league it is easier to get to know people. I wouldn't bet for one single problem between us.” (Jul 2013)