Venue: Farum Park, Farum
Date: Tues 2nd October
Kick-off: 19.45 GMT
After a really good game and result against Arsenal in the league at the weekend, it’s back to the Champions League tonight and a trip away to Denmark and after our 2-2 draw with Juventus in the opening group game, we could really do with a win here to settle any Champions League nerves that might otherwise creep in.
It’s our first time up against Danish Superliga champions Nordsjaelland and although their first Champions League game brought a 2-0 defeat against Shakhtar, they looked a lively side so we shouldn’t take tonight’s game lightly.
Going into tonight’s game, Kasper Hjulmand says “We’re so proud to be here to join this competition and the first match at home is very special for us. Two weeks ago we played our first group-stage match in Europe and now playing at home gives us a lot of joy and a lot of pride. One of the biggest things is to show who we are, play the way we do, and take confidence from the results of the last two to three years. What we’re facing now is the biggest test of all, meeting the Champions League champions. They are one of the best teams in the world. One salary of one of their players would be our entire budget for a year. It’s a good job we’re competing on the pitch, rather than in money. But the main thing is to go out and compete. We have to play in a collective style, help each other out there, and play with a lot of passion and a lot of courage.”
The Nordsjaelland boss has been keeping his eye on the competition ahead of the game and after our win at Arsenal, says “It was a Chelsea Classic. You don’t faint over their game, but they are really effective. They have no weak spots, They have just won the Champions League. But of course, there are possibilities against each team.”
Roberto Di Matteo meanwhile, says “We will be a scalp for the teams now. The motivation of the other teams will be stronger because we are the holders. I am sure a lot of managers will use that to motivate their players. As for last season, I don’t like to look backwards but what we need is to have the concentration for 90 minutes. We conceded a lot of goals late on. We need to stay focused and close the game down. We need to try to win, for sure.”
For Nordsjaelland, the only expected absentee is Joe Sise who is out with a long-term injury. Hjulmand should otherwise have a full squad to choose from.
For Chelsea, Sturridge (hamstring) remains out but we should otherwise have a fully fit squad.
FC NORDSJAELLAND (Possible starting XI): Hansen, Mtiliga, Runje, Okore, Parkhurst, Stockholm, Adu, John, Christensen, Lorentzen, Beckmann
CHELSEA (from): Cech, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Luiz, Cole, Bertrand, Mikel, Romeu, Lampard, Ramires, Mata, Hazard, Oscar, Moses, Marin, Piazon, Torres, Turnbull.
FC Nordsjaelland : LLDWW
Chelsea : DDWWW
It’s the first meeting between the two sides, with Nordesjaelland being complete novices in the competition and Chelsea, current European Champions. So, particularly given our performance against Arsenal at the weekend, we could be forgiven for assuming this might be a bit of a walk in the park. Two minor things to bear in mind before any premature back-slapping takes place though, firstly Nordesjaelland looked pretty handy in their opening game in spite of the defeat and secondly, we didn’t win an away match in our group last season. So for me, this game could very much depend on not only the team selected but also the side that actually turns up.