Chelsea travel to Slovenia for their fourth group stage match in the Champions League to face NK Maribor on Wednesday. A win for Chelsea will guarantee a berth in the knockout stages with two group stage matches remaining.
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Jose Mourinho will be looking to rest Diego Costa in order to give him time to be fully match fit before the mouth-watering clash against Liverpool at Anfield. Costa’s ongoing hamstring injury is yet to subside completely and so is expected to be rested whenever circumstances permit. With Loic Remy still out with a groin injury, Didier Drogba, who has been in fine form lately, is expected to spearhead the Blues’ attack.
With 3 goals in his last 4 appearances, Drogba will have gained a lot of confidence. At the back, John Terry may also be rested, which may mean another start for youngster Kurt Zouma. Also, keeping in mind the match against Liverpool on Saturday, some of the key first team players may be rested in order to avoid fatigue. Mikel, however remains a doubt.
Centre back Aleksander Rajcevic will miss Wednesday’s match due to a head injury. It is also anticipated that midfielder Alex Mejac will undergo a late fitness test before the match for a hamstring injury. Also, fullback Zeljko Filipovic and winger Agim Ibraimi are doubtful for the match with illness.
Chelsea sit on top of Group G with 7 points. Yet to lose a match in any competition, the West Londoners will be confident on Wednesday, and will look to secure all three points and in turn, a place in the last 16 of the Champions League. After two hard-fought back to back 2-1 wins against Shrewsbury Town and QPR, Jose Mourinho will be hoping for a relatively easier outing and would want his team to be very professional.
For Maribor, this is a must win match if they are to keep themselves alive in the Champions League campaign. With two draws and one loss in the Champions League, NK Maribor sit in third spot in group G with just 2 points. Having lost their last league match 1-0 at home to Slovenian PrvaLiga leaders Domzale, Maribor will look to produce a better performance against their hugely talented opponents.
Chelsea 6-0 NK Maribor 21/10/2014
PREDICTED STARTING LINE UP
Chelsea: Courtois(GK), Ivanovic, Zouma, Cahill, Luis, Ramires, Matic, Schurrle, Oscar, Hazard, Drogba(C).
NK Maribor: Handanovic(GK), Suler, Viler, Stojanovic, Filipoivic, Viler, Mejac, Mertelj, Bohar, Ibraimi, Tavares(C).
NK Maribor 0-2 Chelsea
VENUE: Ljudski vrt Stadium
TIME: 1945 GMT / 0115 IST
REFEREE: Daniel Orsato (Italy)
Edited By: Vikram Vadiganeni