|Preview: Chelsea vs Nordsjaelland
It has gone horribly wrong for Chelsea FC over the last month or so. The club is now win less for the past 7 games in all competitions. What makes this situation worse is the fact that we can be the first team to get eliminated from this group stages as holders of the competition. No reigning champion has ever suffered such a fate, but that prospect is very real for the Blues.
Rafael Benitez faces his biggest test yet at Chelsea as the club aim to avoid a humiliating first-round exit from the Champions League tomorrow night. The team is yet to win under new manager Rafael Benitez and last week’s loss to West Ham has piled more pressure on the new boss.
Only way Chelsea can qualify is if they beat Nordsjaelland and hope Shakhtar beat Juventus. Any other result would lead to an elimination for the European Champions.
The Danish club could also decide to go for it in hopes of making a run to try and further the Blues pain after a run of two draws and a defeat in their domestic competition, the English Premier League.
Interim manager Rafael Benitez acknowledged Chelsea might need “a bit of luck” but added: “I don’t think it’s a miracle. “We have to do our job and wait for the other teams.”
“Some players can show character but if you have one or two and they are not playing at the level then the team as a team is suffering,” Benitez said.
John Terry (knee), Frank Lampard (calf) and Daniel Sturridge (hamstring) are close to fitness but the visit of the Danish champions comes too soon.
Chelsea are expected to continue with Cesar Azpilicueta as the RB with Ivanovic continuing as CB in absence of captain of John Terry. Benitez may finally play the 3 amigo’s Oscar,Hazard,Mata together knowing that this is a must win game for the Blues.
Provisional squad: Cech, Ivanovic, Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill, Cole, Bertrand, Mikel, Romeu, Ramires, Mata, Oscar, Hazard, Moses, Marin, Piazon, Torres, Turnbull.
Projected Nordsjaelland Starting XI: Hansen; Parkhurst, Okore, Runje, Mtiliga; Christensen, Adu; Lorentzen, Beckmann, John; Nordstrand
Prediction: Chelsea 2-0 Nordsjælland
Date/Time: Wednesday, December 5th, 19:45 GMT, 2:45 P.M. EST; Thursday, Dec.6th, 1:15 A.M. IST
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Shikharr Chandra (@ShikharrC)