Chelsea will need everything to go their way if we’re to progress into the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League and avoid being the first reigning champions to go out in the first round of the following season.
So, as well as supporting the Blues we will have to cheer on Shakhtar as they play Juventus at home and I don’t see the Ukrainians as the type to sit back and play out a draw, as they’re natural instinct is to attack and they have nothing to lose apart from surrendering their place at the top of the group.
But we cannot influence what happens in that game and will just have to hope for the best whilst we do the job against Nordsjaelland. David Luiz missed the fixture against West Ham at the weekend after picking up a domestic suspension but could return to the side tomorrow night, whilst Frank Lampard, John Terry and Daniel Sturridge are all still unavailable.
The team I’d choose:
P. Cech (c)
C. Azplicueta – B. Ivanovic – D. Luiz – A. Cole
J. Mikel – Ramires
J. Mata – E. Hazard – V. Moses
Although I’m not the biggest fan of Luiz most of the time and his lapses in concentration and intelligence irritate me, I’d put him back in the side against Nordsjaelland as Gary Cahill has probably been worse and the Brazilian has kept two clean sheets in his last two matches.
Oscar can become slightly lazy when it comes to his defensive duties and pressing, whilst he can often go missing in the second half of games. I believe his future lies further back in midfield where he can dictate the play with his passing, although he’d have to up his work-rate between now and then, so I’d leave him out and play Ramires there for now.
Victor Moses had a decent game against West Ham at the weekend and even though Juan Mata and Eden Hazard have gone off the boil, they’re still our biggest threats and hopefully a good result against the minnows in the group will kick us back into gear.
And then there’s Fernando Torres. If he keeps missing sitters and spends more time on his arse than on his feet, I’d chuck Lucas Piazon on for him or try Moses there.
It’s a depressing thought that we may surrender our European title so early but with all the bad feeling surrounding the club at the moment, I’m praying that a miraculous escape from the group could be the catalyst that turns our season around and not just our fortunes in Europe.