Chelsea will be without team captain John Terry (Knee), midfielder Frank Lampard (Calf) and forward Daniel Sturridge (Hamstring) for their final Champions League Group Game against Danish Champions Nordsjaelland; the trio are however nearing match fitness.
Defender David Luiz returns to the fold however having completed his suspension, the Brazilian missed Saturday’s surprise defeat to West Ham after picking up five yellow cards.
Chelsea play host to Nordsjaelland tonight knowing their Champions League fate is out of their hands. They must defeat the Danish Champions whilst hoping Shahtar Donetsk also beat Juventus in order to qualify. The former obstacle seems an easy one to overcome, given Nordsjaelland are bottom of Group E with just one point, though Juventus will have the bit between their teeth tonight after their impressive and resolute 3-0 win over Chelsea a fortnight ago.
Juventus would also progress in second place at Chelsea’s expense with a draw, which would leave the Blues with the unenviable statistic of becoming the first ever Champions League Winners to exit at the Group Stage a season later.
The 3-0 win for Juventus a fortnight ago signaled the end of the road for Roberto De Matteo, and former Liverpool manager Rafa Beniez was swiftly installed as interim manager. He has hardly hit the ground running though, and will be looking for his first win as Chelsea manager having picked up just a point in the Premier League during his short reign.
He will fancy his chances of doing so though, as the Blues battered tonight opponents 4-0 back in October.
A repeat result tonight though may not be quite enough…
Likely Chelsea XI
Cech, Cole, Ivanovic, Cahill, Azpilicueta, Ramires, Mata, Oscar, Mikel, Hazard, Torres
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This article was first posted on December 5, 2012