Chelsea looking to book place in Champions league knockout stage

Champions League: Maribor Vs Chelsea @ Ljudski Vrt

Wednesday, November 5, 2014 @ 19:45

Chelsea travel to Slovenia to face Maribor tonight knowing a win will see them qualify from Group G if Sporting fail to overcome Schalke in the group’s other fixture.

Despite a fatigue-sapping schedule – this is the Blues’ fourth fixture in 11 days and they have a domestic trip to Liverpool on Saturday – the Premier League leaders are overwhelming favourites having demolished Maribor 6-0 at Stamford Bridge just a fortnight ago.

Manager Jose Mourinho will be hoping for a vocal Chelsea following after he bemoaned the lack of atmosphere around Stamford Bridge during Saturday’s tight 2-1 win over struggling QPR.

Eden Hazard’s 75th minute penalty proved to be the winner in a match which marked Diego Costa’s return to the fold following a four-game absence through illness and a recurring hamstring problem.

The Blues will be without striker Loic Remy, who injured his groin, scoring the opener in the reverse fixture against Maribor, while John Obi Mikel could come in following a knee injury and Petr Cech may make a rare appearance in place of Thibaut Courtois.

Didier Drogba could start in place of Costa if the striker is rested, the Ivorian proving an able deputy with three goals in his last four matches.

Maribor enter the match on the back of a league defeat last weekend and know another Champions League loss will bring the curtain down on their European adventure.

Outclassed in the first game, the Slovenians need to drastically improve their performance to stand any chance of pulling off a famous upset, though midfielder Ales Merteij has vowed his team will not surrender with the same ease that saw them dispatched in ruthless fashion two weeks ago.

Star man: Eden Hazard

Danger man: Luka Zahovic

Previous result: Chelsea 6-0 Maribor (Remy 13’Drogba 23’(Pen) Terry 31’ Vilor 54’ og Hazard 77’(Pen) 90’) October 21, 2014

Picture courtesy of brent flanders, with thanks

Related Articles