Zhirkov, Ballack and Deco to start against Porto

The Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti has told the press that he will be making changes for tonights game against Porto.

With a massive game against Arsenal coming up at the Emirates this Sunday, he will be playing some fringe players in this not-so-important match tonight.

It is about time we will finally see the “marquee signing” Yuri Zhirkov finally start a game for the Blues, although i will believe it when i see it!

Ancelotti said that it is unlikely that Saturdays two-goal hero Michael Essien will play.

“I don’t think he will start because he has a little problem on his knee and I prefer to keep him on the bench. He is not a problem for Sunday, against Arsenal he will play,” Ancelotti said.

“We are in Portugal now, and I want to say that Carvalho and Deco will play tomorrow. I want to change something, some players, and the players that did not play against Wolves will play, Ivanovic, Carvalho, Deco, Ballack,”

“I think that Zhirkov can play tomorrow at left-back.

“I don’t know for Drogba, maybe he will start on the bench. He is well but I prefer to keep him on the bench.’

The captain John Terry is guaranteed to start though, and will be making his 300th appearance as skipper for the club, and Ancelotti said that he hoped he would carry on in the role for years.

“I am happy because John Terry is a very good captain, not only for his technical qualities but also the “professionality” and I hope that he will be the captain for a long time,’ Ancelotti said.

Although Chelsea will have an eye on the Arsenal game, they can’t afford to lose at Porto or they will surrender first place in the group, which will mean a difficult game in the first knock-out round.

But the reserves have performed admirably when asked to do so in previous games, and Ancelotti understands it won’t be an easy game.

“Tomorrow is an important match not only for first place, but also tomorrow we will play against a strong team.” Ancelotti continued.

“Porto is a strong team in the Champions League and did well at Stamford Bridge. It is a very good test because we want to put in the pitch our personality – to go forward we have to have personality and quality – it is not easy in this stadium.”

In fact on the last two visits to Porto Chelsea have only come away with a draw and a defeat, so we know how difficult Porto are to beat at home.

I’m sure we’ll be fine!

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