Sport Soccer

Tuesday 25 October 2016

John Terry to return to Chelsea line-up for Walsall clash but Costa ruled out

Published 22/09/2015 | 17:00

Chelsea's John Terry will face Walsall
Chelsea's John Terry will face Walsall

Jose Mourinho will restore John Terry to his defence at Walsall where Chelsea's absentees will be as notable as the captain's return to action.

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A three-match ban for Diego Costa handed down by the Football Association on Tuesday came shortly after it emerged club doctor Eva Carneiro had left the club.

Costa belatedly paid the price for raising his hands to Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny in Saturday's 2-0 win for the Blues.

His suspension began immediately after video evidence proved the striker's undoing. As well as the Walsall game, Costa also stands to miss Premier League games against Newcastle and Southampton.

Carneiro is understood to have left Chelsea, following the incident on the opening day of the season when she was criticised by manager Mourinho after a draw with Swansea.

Yet Terry remains, and the 34-year-old former England skipper will make his 650th start for Chelsea in the Capital One Cup third-round tussle with the Saddlers, who stand second in League One this season.

Terry has been an unused substitute in Chelsea's last two games, the wins over Maccabi Tel Aviv and Arsenal, but will have an opportunity to stake a claim for a full-time return to the heart of the defence.

Striker Radamel Falcao is another who will start at the Banks's Stadium.

"Of course John's experience will help," Mourinho said. "He didn't play the last match so he is completely fresh and completely motivated to play, the same as Falcao for example.

"Chelsea is Chelsea, and wearing the Chelsea shirt always brings responsibility. Every player is more than happy to play."

The current holders, Chelsea begin their campaign against a side Mourinho insists he will take seriously.

"I don't see reasons to throw away any competition," Mourinho told Chelsea's club website.

"A cup is a cup. A trophy is a trophy. If you lose, you lose but you don't need to throw it away. So yes, we look to the competition in a proper way, and I also think it's very important to respect opponents.

"I don't think opponents from the Championship, League One or League Two expect the big clubs to go and play against them without the best players."

Walsall have lost just one league match in eight. For Chelsea, goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois remains absent with a knee problem and Willian is also out with a muscle injury.

Chelsea midf ielder Nemanja Matic is confident the Blues' shaky start to the season is over, thanks to the win against Arsenal.

"We looked better on the pitch. Maybe mentally we are stronger. We had more pressure than normal before the game because we only had four points," Matic said.

"We recognised the situation. It was time to win. We played like one on the pitch and we fought for every ball. This is just the beginning."

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