Chelsea - Nordsjaelland Preview: European champions must win to keep knockout phase hopes alive
The Blues need to secure a victory and rely on Shakhtar Donetsk beating Juventus in Group E's other clash in order to secure their passage out of the group stage
By Alfie Meekings
Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Luiz, Cole
Mata, Oscar, Hazard
Parkhurst, Gundelach, Runje, Mtiliga
Lorentzen, Christensen, John
Chelsea will be without Frank Lampard (calf) and John Terry (knee), with both expected to be available to face Sunderland at the weekend. Daniel Sturridge (hamstring) is also a doubt but could make the substitutes’ bench.
Rafa Benitez has so far appeared to be keen to shake up the trio behind the misfiring Fernando Torres, with Victor Moses and Marko Marin both involved in recent weeks. However, with the Blues in dire need of a victory, the Spaniard could resort to the supporting three that started the season so well.
For Nordsjaelland, Jores Okore – who has played every Champions League game for the visitors this season – will sit out after picking up a thigh injury against Esbjerg in November.
Ramires, David Luiz, Patrick Mtiliga and Ivan Runje are all one yellow card away from incurring a suspension.
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Chelsea must win to qualify for the knockout phase of the competition. However, if Juventus beat Shakhtar in Group E’s other game, the Blues will go out regardless of their result against Nordsjaelland.
- The Danes have lost five of their last eight games on the road.
- The hosts are on a run of six competitive matches without a win, something which has not happened since 1996.
- This is the visitors' maiden season in the Champions League and they are yet to achieve a win (W0 D1 L4).
- Gary Cahill (pictured, right) has blocked more shots per game in all competitions (1.7) than any other player in Europe's top five leagues.
- The Superliga champions currently sit second in their domestic league.
- Chelsea have the joint-best disciplinary record in the competition, having picked up just five yellow cards in five matches this season.
- This will be Rafa Benitez's first Champions League game in charge of a club since his Inter side lost 3-0 to Werder Bremen in 2010.
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Top 3 Predictions
Chelsea FC 5-0 FC Nordsjælland
- 15.24 %
Chelsea FC 3-0 FC Nordsjælland
- 11.43 %
Chelsea FC 4-0 FC Nordsjælland
- 8.34 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||5 Dec 2012||Chelsea FC 6 - FC Nordsjælland 1|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||2 Oct 2012||FC Nordsjælland 0 - Chelsea FC 4|
|8 Mar 2014||Chelsea FC 4 - Tottenham 0||EPL|
|1 Mar 2014||Fulham 1 - Chelsea FC 3||EPL|
|26 Feb 2014||Galatasaray 1 - Chelsea FC 1||UCL|
|22 Feb 2014||Chelsea FC 1 - Everton 0||EPL|
|15 Feb 2014||Manchester City 2 - Chelsea FC 0||FA|
|12||John Obi Mikel||Midfielder|
|-||Enock Kofi Adu||Midfielder|
Ivanovic has stepped in at centre-back recently and has barely put a foot wrong. If the Blues are to keep the Danes out, the aerial presence and positional awareness of the Serbian will play a vital role in doing so.
With the inexperienced Cesar Azpilicueta likely to start at right-back for Chelsea, John will want to test the Spaniard’s defensive abilities.