Chelsea look to salvage European campaign
So last year’s Champions of Europe Chelsea exited the competition swiftly this time around after failing to finish above Juventus and FC Shakhtar Donetsk in the Group stages.
February 14th, 2013
Luckily for the Blues, the team which finishes 3rd in any Champions League group is automatically thrown into the round of 32 in the Europa league and thus, Chelsea have one last stab at success in Europe this year – even if it is only the Champions League’s little brother.
Chelsea were drawn up against Czech outfit Sparta Prague and head to Prague for 6pm kick off. The Blues will be hoping to take the plenty of positives from the weekend’s resounding 4-1 victory over lowly Wigan into tonight’s game. Ramires, Hazard, Lampard and Marin were the scorers in that game which shows that Chelsea have plenty of capable goal scorers in their midfield with which to trouble the Sparta defensive line tonight.
Chelsea are likely to field a 4-5-1 formation with Torres the lone man up front as Demba Ba is cup-tied after playing in the competition for Newcastle. As stated before, Chelsea have plenty of players in midfield who can run the Sparta defence ragged without them worrying too much about playing only Torres up front.
There is a winter break in the Czech league due to the harsh weather they endure, which means Sparta Prague haven’t played a competitive match since early December. However they have been involved in several friendlies to keep their players match fit and ready to take on Chelsea tonight. Sparta are currently on a run of five games unbeaten in Europe so any Chelsea fans who think heading to the Generali Arena tonight will be walk in the park may be in for a rude awakening!
Sparta will almost certainly name their strongest side with their main threat coming from lively wingers Vaclav Kadlec and David Krefci. Midfielders Jiri Jarosik and Pavel Kaderabek, and forward Tomas Prikryl are all missing through injury.
It should be an entertaining match tonight between two great passing sides but if you were to put your money anywhere, even despite being away from home, it would have to be on Chelsea.