With Champions League back on Tuesday, Chelsea will travel to Portugal for their second group match against the Portuguese Primeira League club Sporting Lisbon.
Chelsea with their unbeaten record in all competitions this season will interestingly line up against a side that is yet to lose a single game this season. Fair to say that’s quite a battle we have on our hands!
So keeping the fixture in mind, we decided to do a little research on the Portuguese Club in our Opposition Scouting Report. Here’s what we learned about them:
SPORTING LISBON-TEAM AND RECENT FORM
Sporting Clube de Portugal commonly known as Sporting or Sporting CP (internationally known as Sporting Lisbon) is a Portuguese multi-sports club based in Portugal’s capital city of Lisbon.
Currently managed by Marco Silva Sporting Lisbon is the third most successful Portuguese football club with 44 titles in Portuguese Domestic competitions and 1 International title. Goalkeeper Rui Faria currently captains the side.
Sporting Lisbon had a mixed start to this seasons League campaign with two wins, and four draws in their six matches so far. Although they are still unbeaten, they currently sat 7th in the League Table with their fifth 1-1 draw in the season against FC Porto last weekend. Add to that a four-year, 16-match unbeaten record, including 13 wins, in European competition at the Alvalade Stadium, Sporting Lisbon will have the pressure to manage at least a point when they line-up against the blues.
FORMATION AND STYLE OF PLAY
Sporting Lisbon will most probably roll on with a 4-1-4-1 formation when they meet the blues on Tuesday. William Carvalho will occupy the Defensive Midfielder spot for the Portuguese club while the front four would consist of Nani, Diego Capel, Joao Mario and Adrian Silva. Islam Slimani will probably play the lone forward role.
The Sporting Lisbon’s style of play is such that William Carvalho hangs out deep in the box shielding his defence with Adrian Silva complimenting him in the Central Midfield role. Diego Capel and Nani occupy the either wing with Joao Mario playing behind the lone striker.
It’s the formation Blues have not come up against this season so it will be interesting to see how Mourinho lines up for this fixture.
STRENGTH AND KEY PLAYERS
DEFENSE– Defense has been a strength for Sporting Lisbon this season, and they haven’t conceded more than one goal in a game in all competitions so far. With a defence well guarded by the likes of Cedric, Mauricio Nabby Sarr and J.Silva, it could well give us a hard time to create and score chances.
WILLIAM CARVALHO – With Arsenal and Manchester United chasing, the Defensive Midfielder Carvalho has already made a name for himself in Europe. Deployed in a DM role Carvalho has been one of the main factors for the strong Lisbon defence in the past couple of seasons.
Winner of the 2013 Sporting Lisbon’s player of the year award Carvalho will have the responsibility to control Fabregas’s run in midfield.
ATTACK– Sporting Lisbon might have been unbeaten across all competitions, scoring in every match they have played so far but 5 of those matches have ended with the scoreline of 1-1.
Barring an odd match where they scored 4 goals, the team has mostly struggled at the attacking front with Manchester United Loanee, Nani the bright spot in a rather dull attack. Sure the team has been impressive defensively but their attack has suffered so far this season.
If Sporting Lisbon continues to be dire in front of the goal against a top team like Chelsea, it could make the job of Cahill and Terry a lot easier when we visit the Portuguese Capital tomorrow.
HEAD TO HEAD
This will be the first time the two clubs meet against each other in the European Competition, so there’s no head to head battle or History involved between the two teams.
Though we hope our first meeting against the Portuguese club ends merrily for us.