Chelsea vs Sporting CP: Match Preview and Prediction
So Chelsea are fallible. After a run of 23 matches unbeaten, the Blues were undone by a fantastic organized performance by the Toons.
But now they have to let go of their disappointment and look forward to their last Champions League group stage match against Sporting CP.
TEAM NEWS, INJURY UPDATES AND SUSPENSIONS
Chelsea are already through to the knockout stage and thus this will be a match that provides some players with much-needed rest ahead of a very busy Christmas schedule. Jose Mourinho will be looking to rotate his squad as much as possible, providing some vital game-time to the fringe players, who will come in handy during the fixture congestion. However according to Mourinho, Diego Costa might start. Ramires, Schurrle and Salah may start as well. Kurt Zouma will most definitely be in the starting eleven, and so will Filipe Luis. Youngsters like Lewis Baker, Ruben Loftus Cheek and Dominic Solanke may be given a shot at European football although Nathan Ake remains injured. Petr Cech may get a rare start.
Most of the Sporting CP players are available for selection, although Cedric is suspended having collected his third yellow card in Europe against NK Maribor two weeks ago and Manchester United loanee Nani is out after he injured his thigh only half an hour into their match against Boavista last weekend, which they won 3-1. Highly-rated midfielder William Carvalho is expected to start while Slimani and Carrilo will lead the attack.
After going 23 matches unbeaten, Chelsea were finally undone at St. James’ Park, with Newcastle United playing one of their best matches so far this season. It was the first time the Blues tasted defeat this season there is nothing to panic yet. Chelsea still sit at the top, 3 points clear of Manchester City, while they have already progressed to the last 16 of the Champions League. Although Mourinho would want his players to take this match seriously, reminding them that they cannot afford to be complacent if they are to win trophies. Chelsea will be looking to bounce back and thus a good performance is expected.
While Chelsea are already through to the knockout stage, Sporting CP need to avoid defeat to progress. They will also reach the last 16 if Schalke fail to win against NK Maribor, who will be fighting hard themselves for a Europa League spot. Sporting CP are on a four match wining streak, scoring 14 goals and conceding just 2 in the process, and will feel that they have a good chance of avoiding a loss in London and reaching the knockout stage. With a 3-1 win against Boavista, Sporting will be feeling confident.
Chelsea have won their last 7 matches against Portuguese sides, all by a single goal margin, and Jose Mourinho has never lost against Sporting as a manager, right from the days when he managed FC Porto. Sporting CP have won only 2 of their 10 matches in England, losing 6 and drawing the remaining 2.
LAST HEAD TO HEAD
Sporting CP 0-1 Chelsea 30/09/2014
PREDICTED STARING LINE-UPS
Chelsea: Cech(GK), Ivanovic(C), Cahill, Zouma, Luis, Ramires, Mikel, Schurrle, Salah, Fabregas, Costa.
Sporting CP: Patricio(GK), Soares, Oliveira, Sarr, Jefferson, Silva, Carvalho, Mario, Montero, Slimani, Carrillo.
Chelsea 2-0 Sporting CP
TIME: 1945 GMT / 0115 IST
VENUE: Stamford Bridge
REFEREE: Svein Oddvar Moen (NORWAY)
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Edited By: Ankur Bhatt