Dec 102014
 

Chelsea returns to action in the Champions league after a disappointing 2-1 loss to Newcastle over the weekend that all but ended the club’s unbeaten run this season.

Chelsea is already through to the next stage of the Champions league as well as securing top spot in group G irrespective of the outcome of tonight encounter while Sporting are second on the log and will need at least a draw in this game to go through as group’s runner up ahead of Schalke 04 who play NK Maribor of Slovenia in the other group game.

Chelsea is playing this game simply because they need to as there is not much in it for Chelsea. Jose Mourinho will be expected to ring some changes in the team and bearing in mind the hectic December period ahead of the club, will likely give some fresh legs a chance in this game.

This game could witness a lot of new faces and fresh legs hence; we look at the likely Line-up to face Sporting Lisbon tonight.

In Goal:

Petr Cech is likely to be in goal for the final group game of the Champions league this season. Cech has seen limited action since the return of Thibaut Courtois from Atletico Madrid.

Cech has never had any start in the Premier League this season but has made two appearances in the Champions League. This will be another opportunity for Mourinho to give action to the Chelsea veteran while Courtois take a rest.

Cech has been as usual excellent in the cameo appearances he has made this season and Jose Mourinho has earlier said during the week that his class and quality are never in doubt. He is likely to take the spot in between the sticks for this game.

In Defence:

Jose Mourinho already confirmed during his press conference that captain John Terry will not be part of this game hence, the central defensive pair of Kurt Zouma and Gary Cahill will likely feature in tonight’s game. There could also be action for Andres Christensen but Mourinho will likely go with the pair of Zouma and Cahill in central defence owing to the experience that Cahill brings at the back as a cover and guide for Zouma.

Branislav Ivanovic who looked fatigued against Newcastle could also start from the bench with Ceasar Azpilicueta taking the right back position while Filipe Luis mans the left back.

In Midfield:

Willian and Eden Hazard will be rested as confirmed by Jose Mourinho. This will give Andre Schurrle and Mohammed Salah an opportunity to claim a spot on opposite wings as attacking midfielders. Oscar could also be rested with Cesc Fabregas who will be missing Chelsea’s next game against Hull City playing as no.10.

The double pivot position could see Ruben Loftus-Cheek make his senior debut for the club. The Chelsea youth product who is just 18 has been recently promoted to the first team and Jose Mourinho have confirmed the youngster would make an appearance in this game.

He will likely be paired with Ramires while the likes of Mikel and Matic could come in at some point in the game.

In Attack:

Diego Costa would be the clear favourite for the top spot. The 26-year-old has not been part of a couple of game due to injury and has not registered a goal for the club in the Champions league since moving from Atletico Madrid in the summer.

Mourinho will want his prolific striker to get on the score sheet in this game hence, will likely start him upfront.

Loic Remy may also fancy his chances but it is Costa that will likely start. Costa has not scored for Chelsea lately and will want to use this game at Stamford Bridge to get back to his scoring form.

Probable Line-up:

Cech

Azpilicueta, Zouma, Cahill, Luis.

Loftus-Cheek, Ramires, Salah, Fabregas, Schurrle.

Costa.

Sub: Courtios, Christensen, Ivanovic, Matic, Mikel, Oscar, Drogba, Remy.

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 Posted by at 1:18 pm
Dec 102014
 

After the 2-1 loss to Newcastle in the weekend, the media-instigated unbeaten run jingle have been well put to rest and Chelsea will return to action against Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League in what will be the last group game for the campaign this season.

Chelsea was 1-0 winner over the same opposition in the reverse fixture at the Estadio Jose Alvalade in Lisbon, Portugal courtesy of a Nemanja Matic first half header.

The Blues are already through to the knock-out stage of the competition and will also emerge as group winners irrespective of the outcome of this game hence; the match could easily be termed as not-too important for the club.

Sporting on the other hand need to take at least a points from this game in order to be guaranteed a spot as the group’s runner up irrespective of Maribor vs Schalke04 outcome.

As much as Sporting is the one who has everything to play for in this game, it is the Blues I tip to come out with all three points in this encounter hence, we look at Five reasons why Chelsea will get the double over Sporting in this Champions League game.

Young Talents Will Want To Produce Result:

As expected, Mourinho will be resting a number of his key players thus, giving some of the young players a chance to show themselves.

The likes of Kurt Zouma, Andreas Christensen, Ruben Loftus-Cheek could all start the game and there is no doubt this young lads will want to impress the manager and much more the crowd of supporters with a good performance.

The hunger in these young players could be what Chelsea needs to out stage Sporting come Wednesday night.

Rebuilding Team Confidence:

After the Newcastle loss, Chelsea will need to get their confidence up again and this is the game to do that.

The 2-1 loss was almost like a setback for the club in its campaign as it marked the first time Chelsea will be losing a competitive match in all competition this season. Mourinho will seek to get his boys confidence on the high again by winning this game as a consecutive loss will do his team no good. Expect Chelsea to be all out to win this one.

No Pressure:

Teams perform better when they are not under any undue pressure and that is the case with Chelsea. Chelsea is under no pressure whatsoever to win this game hence, will be out to enjoy themselves in the game.

Sporting are the one under pressure here and this could be to their own detriment as they will be approaching the game with caution hence, will not be able to play at their full potential. Chelsea could capitalise on this and punish the Marco Silva side.

Costa:

Diego Costa will likely start the game tomorrow, according to Jose Mourinho during his press conference. The Brazilian born Spanish international has not registered a single goal in the Champions league this season.

This could be his chance to get himself on the score sheet in a Champions league game for Chelsea after being one of the top goal scorers in the competition last season while at Atletico Madrid.

The 26-year-old will fancy his chances in front of goal when he meets Sporting. Expect the prolific striker to get a goal or two in this game if given the chance and that could spell doom for Sporting.

Fringe Players:

Jose Mourinho is likely to give some of the fringe players like Andre Schurrle, Mohammed Salah, John Obi Mikel and Ramires a chance to prove themselves again in this game.

This players know that this would be the best chance to convince the manager they deserve a place in the team hence, will up their game tonight. They will not want to end up on the losing side so as not to irk the Portuguese manager.

Mourinho have been critical of Schurrle and Salah’s performances in some games this season and both players will be eager to take the game to Sporting and redeem their already dwindling image before the manager. If these players up their game tonight against Sporting, Chelsea will be sure to take the three points.

Written by Kc Emmanuels

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 Posted by at 1:16 pm
Nov 042014
 

After the 2-1 win over West London rivals QPR on Saturday, Chelsea will travel to Lyudski Vrt stadium located on the left bank of the river Drava in Maribor, Slovenia to take on the Slovenian champion NK Maribor in a reverse fixture of the Uefa champions league match played at Stamford Bridge fortnight ago.

Chelsea already top group G of the Champions League with 7 points and a win in this game will see the Blues book their ticket into the second round of the competition.

Jose Mourinho will be eager to see his team book their place into the knock-out phase of the competition as early as possible hence, will be going out with his best side.

The reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge penultimate Tuesday ended in a 6-0 win for the Blues but this could be a tricky away tie for Chelsea and they will need to go all out to get a decent result from this game. In this article, the likely line up to play Maribor.

In Goal:

Thibaut Courtois is expected to continue in goal after conceding a goal to QPR from their very first shot on target on the day. The goal keeping responsibilities have been shared between him and Petr Cech in recent weeks but it is the Belgian I tip to man the sticks in this game.

Petr Cech was in charge of the reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge and helped himself with a clean sheet but Mourinho has shown his clear favourite to be the young Belgian who just returned from Atletico Madrid after helping them to the Champions League final and the La Liga title. Coutois has been in good form recently and is likely to continue as Chelsea no.1 in this game.

In Defence:

As said earlier, Chelsea will be going out with the clear intention of sealing the qualification to the next round with a win and Mourinho will be fielding his best legs in every department I believe.

The defence is likely to have its best in Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill, John Terry, and Ceasar Azpilicueta. Azpilicueta is still suspended in the EPL but could play a part in this game in place of Filipe Luis at left back.

He could also play at his natural right back position meaning Ivanovic could be rested but I think Mourinho will likely fancy him at the left back position.

In Midfield:

Mourinho has seemed to get his strongest personnel in midfield in Nemanja Matic, Cesc Fabregas, Willian, Oscar, and Hazard.

Fabregas and Matic have struck an understanding in the holding role behind the more attacking triplet of Willian, Oscar and Hazard.

Mourinho will look to get his midfield up as against QPR but there could also be space for Andre Schurrle and that will see Willian drop to the bench but it is the Brazilian who is likely to start after some not-too convincing display from Schurrle the last time he was called on. So, Matic, Fabregas, Willian, Oscar and Hazard will likely start in midfield.

In Attack:

Diego Costa has returned from injury which has kept him out from action for some weeks. He made the start against QPR.

Though his general play was good, he looked a little off the pace and Mourinho will likely give the Brazilian born Spanish striker more game time to get him into a better shape.

This sees Didier Drogba start from the bench. The Ivorian was a 15th minute substitute for injured Loic Remy in the reverse fixture. Chelsea will likely start with Costa upfront even as the 26-year old continue to seek his first champions league goal in Chelsea colours.

Probable Line-up:

Courtois

Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry(c), Azpilicueta.

Matic, Fabregas, Willian, Oscar, Hazard.

Costa.

Sub: Cech, Zouma, Luis, Ramires, Schurrle, Drogba.

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 Posted by at 5:31 pm
Sep 292014
 

After a comfortable win at Aston Villa over the weekend in the league game, Chelsea travels to the Alvalade stadium in Lisbon to face Sporting CP. Chelsea and Sporting Lisbon will look to pick their first three points in the Champions League after a less-than impressive performance saw the two teams picking up just a point in a 1-1 draw in match day one of the Uefa champions league 2014/2015 season against Schalke 04 and Maribor respectively, hence, the more important it becomes for both manager to unleash the best of their arsenal come Tuesday night.

Sporting manager Marco Silva will fancy going with the side that drew one all with FC Porto in the Portuguese Liga ZON Sagres with Rui Patricio in goal and the quartet of Mauricio, Mahamadou-Naby Sarr, Jonathan Cristian Silva and Cedric Soares holding down their place in the back four. William Carvalho will continue as the team’s Central defensive midfielder alongside Joao Mario and Adrien Silva. Nani, Andre Carrilo and Islam Slimani will complete the attacking trio upfront though its likely Carrilo loses his place to Diego Chapel after his not-too-impressive showing against FC Porto at the weekend.

There could also be a place for Fredy Montero and Carlos Mane in the line-up especially if the manager decides to go all attacking in so as to get a result against a decent Chelsea side.

Mourinho on his part will be left with a hard decision to make as regarding his likely line-up bearing in mind the London derby against Arsenal on Sunday. Thibaut Courtois will likely keep his place in between the sticks in place of the experienced and trusted Petr Cech. More so, because he had a clean sheet against Aston Villa his second after returning from his loan spell at Atletico Madrid.

The back four of Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry(C), and Azpilicueta will keep their place except for Azpilicueta who will likely make way for Luiz at left back.

With Ramires continuing his recovery from injury, Fabregas will look to partner Nemanja Matic in the central midfield position with Willian, Oscar and Hazard taking their place behind the lone striker. I expect Hazard to start irrespective of the poor game he had at Villa Park though André Schürrle could take Willians position leaving the Brazilian on the bench while his compatriot-Oscar will clearly get the nod as he has been impressive in his last two starts against Bolton and Aston Villa.

Who takes up the lone striker role will depend on what gamble and risk Mourinho is willing to entertain. Chelsea new boy- Diego Costa will be favourite but with reports he cannot start three games in a week due his hamstring making the round, it’s unlikely. Loic Remy looks the best bet to take up his position as many Chelsea fan will not want to entertain the idea of club legend- Didier Drogba repeating his insipid performance against Schalke04 a fortnight ago.

It is still expected though, that Diego Costa overcomes his hoodoo hamstring and makes the line-up.

Probable Line-up:

For Sporting CP:

  • Rui Patricio, Mauricio, Mahamadou-Naby, Cristian, Cedric, Willian, Joao, Adrien, Nani, Carrilo, Slimani.

For Chelsea:

  • Courtois, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Luis, Matic, Fabregas, Willian, Hazard, Schurrle, Costa.

What is your expected line-up?

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 Posted by at 6:29 pm
Sep 172014
 

With both Premiership and Champions league fixtures coming in thick and fast, most top clubs around Europe are careful not to exhaust their players by playing them in midweek and immediately again at weekends. Clubs with a robust budget usually acquire depth players to fill the roster, in other to be provided with security when a first team player needs a bit of rest.

One problem that spending on depth might cause, is the fact that many players who are purchased with a secondary role in mind are usually not good enough to fill in, when any of the original eleven can’t play. If a substitute represents an enormous drop in quality, then the team will do badly when he plays.

One team that obviously doesn’t have this problem is Chelsea, who has managed to acquire good quality depth. This is sure to come in handy on Wednesday night as they face Schalke 04 in the Champions League.

Wednesday’s clash is crucial, not because Schalke will present that big of a problem, but because the Blues have a title defining clash against Manchester City on Sunday. If Chelsea were to lose any of its key players to injury, then the match against City may tilt towards the noisy neighbours.

Jose Mourinho has the luxury of preserving his key players by replacing them with other capable members of the team. We will first identify the players that the Chelsea boss needs to rest for the match against Manchester City.

Diego Costa has netted seven goals thus far including a hat trick in the last game against Swansea. Cesc Fabregas has assisted six times for the blues, while Ivanovic despite being a right back has also scored twice and assisted once.

Either Loic Remy or Drogba can replace Costa, while Filipe Luis can take Ivanovic’s place. Cesc Fabregas on the other hand has multiple deputies in Willian who can replace him in the No. 10 role, and Mikel who can fill in for him in the pivot.

Petr Cech, one of the best goal-keepers in the world can fill in for Courtios, and even Kurt Zouma can give ‘old man’ Terry a rest.

If Chelsea’s starting eleven were to be rotated for Wednesday’s match against Schalke, it would look like this;

Cech, Cahill, Zouma, F.Luis, Azpilicueta, Mikel, Ramires, Willian, Salah, Schurrie, Drogba.

The above team in my opinion isn’t any worse than the team that played Bayern in the Champions League final in 2012. That team had the likes of Kalou and Betrand playing both wings and the aging Lampard pairing with Mikel in the pivot.

Although Chelsea risk losing the match if they play with a weakened side, the injury stricken Schalke 04 side, who have also just lost their captain Howedes to injury today, won’t pull an upset.

It is my opinion that Chelsea have a lot to gain and very little to lose. You can always come back from a first game defeat in the Champions League (they did it just last year) but a loss to your closest rival for the league title, has both psychological and table defining effects.

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 Posted by at 9:37 am
Sep 162014
 

Chelsea begins their Champions League campaign this season with a match against German heavyweights Schalke 04 in Stamford Bridge on Wednesday. The Blues are in scintillating form having won four out of their first four matches of the season, while the Germans on the other hand, are having their worst start ever to a Bundesliga season. Jans Keller’s side are without a win this season and were recently whitewashed 4-1 away at Borussia Monchengladbach. And With key players like Jefferson Farfan, Atsuto Uchida, Sead Kolasinac and Joel Matip all out injured, the German side are likely to have a torrid time against last year’s semi-finalist.

The Blues have no severe injury concerns and seem rearing to go, on the back of a 4-2 victory at the Liberty stadium over the weekend. With players like Costa, Fabregas, Ivanovic and Remy all in good form, another impressive performance from the London team seems inevitable.

Essential Facts

Chelsea beat Schalke by 3 goal margins in both the home and away fixtures in the Champions League last season.

Chelsea’s record against Bundesliga opponents is P16 W9 D4 L4

Chelsea’s defeat by Basel last season was their first defeat on match day one in the Champions league.

Chelsea’s record against the Bundesliga outfit is impressive, as they have won 3 times and only drawn once versus the German side.

Recent Form

Chelsea:     WWWW

Schalke 04: LLDL

It is important that Chelsea get off to a good start against what is possibly their toughest opponent, in a group that includes Sporting Lisbon and Maribor. A win here means that Jose Mourinho’s team goes into their next English premiership match without the undue pressure of having lost a match; they should have won quite easily. A win on Wednesday puts the Blues in pole position to go into the latter matches of the group stages, confident of a first place finish, which will enable the manager, try out new players and new formations in preparation for the knockout stages. Another advantage will be the possibility of getting a 2nd placed team from a different group as a second round opponent.

In light of the Blues’ very encouraging campaign in the Premier League, the Portuguese tactician will also be looking to rest a few key players for this fixture in anticipation of their heavy weight clash with last season’s English Premier League Champions, Manchester City. With players such as Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas and Branislav Ivanovic forming the basis of the London side’s consistently positive form, Mourinho will not want to risk any of his untouchables picking up an injury that will side line them for trips to important league matches like Sunday’s clash with City, and also subsequent meetings with Aston Villa and Arsenal.

Wednesday’s clash may see players like Willian, Salah, Remy, Drogba and the left back Filipe Luis being given a chance to show what they can offer Chelsea this season.

Possible line ups:

Chelsea: Courtios, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Terry, Ivanovic, Luis, Mikel, Matic, Willian, Salah, Hazard, Drogba

Shalke 04: Fahrmann, Clemems, Ayan, Howedes, Aogo, Neustader, Boateng, Draxler, Huntelaar, Sam, Choupo-Moting

Despite a good chance of rotational changes in the Chelsea team, we tip the Blues to still run out winners, in what promises to be an epic Champions League clash.

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 Posted by at 5:33 pm
Sep 152014
 

After being dropped from Saturday’s squad to face the Welsh side Swansea, due to an injury picked up in training, the prolific Ivorian is set to start his first game for the club since his return. Speaking with Journalists on Saturday, the Portuguese tactician hailed the former Galatasary man as a ‘box expert’ ahead of their crucial European clash on Wednesday, with Schalke 04;

“…We have a guy like Didier who is a box expert, a kind of striker that the box is his natural habitat”Mourinho

Indeed, he’s credentials in front goal is unquestionable, especially for the Blues for whom he’s scored more goals than any other foreign player, whilst also being their fourth highest goal scorer of all time.

If and when the big striker is eventually utilized by Jose, every supporter of the London club can be sure that Didier will give a superb account of himself.

At age 36, Drogba is getting to the end of his illustrious career and it is clear that millions of aspiring footballers will have a lot to learn from the exemplary way that he has plied his trade.

Studying accounting in the university while struggling to become a professional footballer, it took the Ivorian four years to be capable of training everyday and playing every week according to his then manager at Le Mans, Marc Westerloppe. Such determination to succeed became a recurring theme in his career, and younger footballers will do well to emulate such dedication.

Outside the football pitch, Drogba has also been credited with accomplishments such as his role in bringing peace to Ivory Coast, being appointed a Goodwill ambassador and the creation of the Didier Drogba foundation that helped build hospitals in his home country.

Didier’s taste for success and his determination to work towards achieving it, as well as his self sacrifice has made sure that the man fondly called ‘The drog’ by his teammates and friends alike, will at the end of it all, be known for much more than just being a football player.

The role he played by making a plea to the combatants and subsequently helping to move a nations cup qualifier to the Rebel stronghold of Bouake that helped him confirm the peace process, coupled with his joining and association with the Truth, Reconciliation and Dialogue committee as a representative, saw him recognized by the Times as one of the world’s 100 most influential people.

It is clear in a way, that footballers like him are a dying breed with the younger generation of players more focused on what they can get for themselves in today’s financially charged football. How many footballers today, will give up a signing fee of over 3 million pounds so that others less fortunate can get assess to good health care?

When the 36year old time in football has ended, both Chelsea and non-Chelsea supporters will look back at his time in English football, and be grateful that the DRUG was here.

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 Posted by at 1:46 pm
May 022014
 

Chelsea winger, Eden Hazard has criticized his manager tactics in the aftermath of the team losing 3-1 at home to Atletico Madrid on Wednesday night to further fuel speculations that the high rated Belgian could be set for the exit door.

The Belgian who was the London club’s only bright outlet of the game but was stifled by the Atletico defenders tactics was disappointed in the manner of the loss, taking a jibe at his manager Jose Mourinho who he claims did not set them u to play football.

“Chelsea aren’t set up to play football,” the former Lille star told beIN SPORTS’ French station.

Chelsea started the game on the front foot, taking the lead before crumbling to a spirited performance from the Atleti players who scored three goals and reduced Captain John Terry to tears at the end.

The 23-year old Hazard was at loss of words as to how the team lost after taking the lead but conceded that Chelsea are better as a counter-attacking side and that Atletico won because they were more determined.

“Chelsea are set up to counter-attack – a little bit like Real against Bayern. I don’t know what we lacked. After scoring, we had the game in our hands. Maybe they wanted it more than we did,” the gifted winger and playmaker concluded.

Jose Mourinho got to the semi-final stage at the expense of French money bags, PSG and earned a 0-0 draw in the first leg in Spain and a 2-0 win at Liverpool last weekend playing a ultra-defensive game which has been chided by the fans and media alike, except, well, Chelsea fans who were cresting on the wave of the Only One’s mind games.

It is not known yet what Mourinho makes of his star player’s outburst and definitely, the last has not been heard.

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 Posted by at 9:35 am
Apr 302014
 

With the second leg of the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions league slated for tonight, Jose Mourinho will be desperate to claim a trophy that eluded him in his first stint as Chelsea’s boss and there is every reason to believe he may finally get his hands on the trophy this season.

Here are the Five Reasons Why Chelsea Will win the champions league this season

1. They have strength in depth

Eden Hazard, John Terry, Nemanja Matic, Petr Cech, John Obi Mikel, Samuel Eto’o, Frank Lampard and a host of other players have missed some of their matches this season either through suspension, Injuries, Ineligibility but Chelsea seems to have good replacements for them. A factor that has propelled them into the semi-final already.

2. Solid Defence

Most of Europe’s top team have struggled to break Chelsea’s defensive formations, which explains why they have conceded only Eight goals in 11 matches in the competition this year, the most fewer of all teams at this stage. Our stingy defense may help bring back the trophy we won some 3 seasons ago back to where it rightly belongs.

3. Impact from the bench

When Eden Hazard got injured after just 18minutes in the second leg of the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League against PSG, many felt Chelsea’s chances have been depleted but Andre Schurrle replaced him and made an instant impact by putting them ahead.

Then Demba Ba who came in to score the winning goal with three minutes left, thereby sending them into the semi-finals. This will go a long way to help Chelsea this season as opposing teams will not only be scared of the starting 11 but also worry about the substitutions Mourinho will make during the match.

4. Experienced Players

In football, experience goes a long way. Petr Cech and John Terry both have over 100 UEFA Champions League appearances and the list goes on and on. Again Samuel Eto’ has scored 30 UCL goals, with his last coming against Galatasaray. All these add up to give Chelsea an edge.

5. Jose Mourinho

We all know Jose Mourinho is a born winner. A man who has won two champions league titles with two different clubs in two different countries will definitely be eager to win a third so as to go into the history books. He knows better than anyone what pushes you over the finishing line to win the UCL crown.

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 Posted by at 6:06 pm
Apr 222014
 

The Jose Mourinho led Chelsea FC flew out to Spain with a 20-man strong squad as they face La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid in the first leg of the UEFA semi final at Vincente Calderon tonight.

Unfortunately for them, striker Samuel Eto’o would not in action in Madrid as he is yet to recover from the knee injury he sustained in their 2 – 1 loss to Sunderland last weekend. On a brighter note, Eden Hazard would be part of the travelling party and hopefully would play against Atletico Madrid. He had missed the last three matches due to calf injury he sustained in the last leg of their quarter final game against Paris Saint-Germain.

First choice goalkeeper Petr Cech is also back after missing out the weekend encounter against Sunderland due to illness. He is set to be in goal in tonight’s encounter.

Bransilav Ivannovich did not join the team to Madrid. He is on suspension after receiving three bookings in the competition, while Nemanja Matic and Mohammed Salah were left behind at west London. They are both ineligible since they’ve played Champions League this season for their former clubs.

Mourinho’s 20 man list include:

Goalkeepers

Petr Cech, Mark Scwarzer, Hilario

Defenders

David Luiz, Cahill, John Terry, Ashley Cole, Nathan Ake, , Cesar Azpilicueta, Tomas Kalas

Midfielders/Attackers

Marco Van Ginkel, Ramires, Frank Lampard, Oscar, John Obi Mikel, Eden Hazrad, Willian, Andre Schurrle

Strikers

Fernando Torres, Demba Ba

Cesar Azpilicueta conceded a penalty at the weekend but would now be operating from his natural right back position in this game. Ashley Cole should play on the left-back side while Cahill and John Terry would make up the likely centre-half pairing.

Daivid Luiz had always had good performances against big clubs and hopefully today will be no exception. His most likely partner will be Ramires since Frank Lampard and John Mikel Obi run the risk of suspension should they be booked in this game.

Willian too could miss the return leg if he picks up a yellow card at Madrid. He had created nine chances for his team mates in their loss against Sunderland more than any Premier League player in a single game. Oscar is likely to play his traditional No. 10 position although his form has dipped considerably with Andre Schurrle making up the attacking trio on the right.

Will this 20 man squad be strong enough to contain a very determined, giant-conquering Atletico side? We are just a few hours to finding out.

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 Posted by at 4:10 pm