The Blues lead the Russian side 3-1 from the first leg at Stamford Bridge and Rafael Benitez will hope that the side he picks finishes the job with the FA Cup semi-final on Sunday against Manchester City in mind.
Benitez has some injuries to contend with as Ashley Cole (hamstring) and Gary Cahill (knee) staying in London as part of their rehabilitation from injury, the latter underwent surgery recently following an awkward fall during the 2-0 win over Southampton.
Demba Ba is also injured but wouldn’t have been eligible for selection anyway, whilst Ryan Bertrand has been suffering from illness and has been rated as doubtful, but I’d expect to see both players back in the line-up at the weekend.
Nathan Ake has travelled with the squad and seems likely to start considering our current injury problems in the left-back position.
The XI I’d pick:
P. Ferreira – J. Terry (c) – D. Luiz – N. Ake
J. Mikel – F. Lampard
V. Moses – Y. Benayoun – M. Marin
Whilst we are currently leading 3-1 in the tie and are the clear favourites to progress into the next round, we do not want to make the mistake that Tottenham did against Inter Milan and underestimate our opponent. It almost cost them but I believe the experience amongst our squad won’t make similar mistakes, which is why I’d like to see the experienced heads of Paulo Ferreira and John Terry in the defence with David Luiz and young Ake.
Ramires does an awful lot of running in most games and seems a tireless worker with boundless energy but I don’t see any harm in giving him a breather in this one.
Preferably we’d all like to see Eden Hazard, Juan Mata and Oscar fresh for the Manchester City game at Wembley, which is the clear priority over the two competitions in my opinion, but they will be on the bench should we need them.
Of course Torres starts up top and he’s played very well recently, I just hope he finds some lasting consistency this time.
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