CHELSEA v Sporting Lisbon: Champions League Preview

Venue: Stamford Bridge
Date: Wed 10 December
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT

It’s probably just as well we’re already through to the knockout stages of the Champions League because after our first defeat of the season against Newcastle at the weekend, it’s a cert we’d have been written off.
Tonight though, whilst Jose Mourinho will use the opportunity to rest a few players, Sporting Lisbon need a draw to guarantee they go through in second place. Should we win and Schalke beat Maribor, it’ll be Roberto Di Matteo’s side who progress.

MANAGER’S VIEW
Facing tonight’s Champions League game after the weekend’s defeat, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho insists “From the mental point of view the defeat at Newcastle doesn’t have any effect on us. We are fine, we don’t need a reaction.”
Whilst on tonight’s team selection, he says “We have so many matches to play in December. One of the few teams that also plays in the Capital One Cup in this moment. Other teams involved in the Champions League—only Liverpool are involved. I am so happy to give the kids a chance. He (Loftus-Cheek) is an English player, 18, completely made in Chelsea. If he succeeds it’s good. One month ago he played in a Champions League new generation game. You can imagine the difference between playing in a Sporting Lisbon academy with 1,000 spectators and one month later to play against the real Sporting, with 45,000 people and all the lights on him. To be here since he was eight and to have a chance to play for Chelsea is every kid’s dream. The way he trains every time, he comes and gives me the guarantee of his quality. He gives me the guarantee of his ambition.”

SQUAD NEWS
For Chelsea, Nemanja Matic is available after missing the game against Newcastle through suspension. John Terry, Eden Hazard and Willian will be rested, although Cesc Fabregas, who misses the weekend’s game through suspension could play. Pete Cech could be recalled and 18-year-old midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek could feature.
For Sporting, Nani (thigh) misses out and Cedric is suspended.

LAST MEETING
Sporting 0-1 Chelsea (30 September 2014)

OTHER STUFF
•Chelsea are undefeated in their last 5 matches in the Champions League
•Sporting have not won on the road in Europe since September 2011
•Sporting have scored at least 3 goals in their last 3 matches in the Champions League

PREDICTION
You’d imagine we have little to play for tonight although bouncing back from defeat at the weekend along with players given chances to impress might address that possibility. Sporting won’t be sitting back though, so Cech will be put through his paces.

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