Monterrey - Chelsea Preview: Benitez searches for first silverware as Blues boss
The west London team are aiming to be crowned world club champions, but will have to navigate a tricky semi-final tie against a Mexican side full of confidence
By Tom J Doyle
Azpilicueta Cahill, Luiz, Cole
Moses, Mata, Hazard
Meza, Basanta, Mier, Chavez
Cardozo, Ayovi, Perez, Corona
Delgado, De Nigris
Chelsea club captain John Terry (knee) will miss the tournament through injury so Gary Cahill and David Luiz are due to start in the centre of defence for Rafa Benitez's side.
Oriol Romeu is definitely out after learning he has damanged his meniscus and anterior cruciate ligament, and is likely to miss the rest of the 2012-13 season through injury.
Daniel Sturridge (hamstring) has no set return date, and is unlikely to feature for the Champions League winners.
Monterrey forward Humberto Suazo has a tear in his right thigh muscle, and will miss the rest of the tournament as a result.
Cesar de la Pena (knee) is also out of the semi-final tie for the Mexican side.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Chelsea have won only three of their last 13, but were victorious in each of their last two matches.
- Monterrey finished a disappointing seventh of Mexico's Apertura tournament, the first half of the domestic campaign.
- This will be Rafa Benitez's third Club World Cup campaign, having lost to Sao Paulo with Liverpool in 2005 and triumphed with Inter over Mazembe in 2010. If Chelsea win the trophy, he will draw level with fellow Spaniard Pep Guardiola, who has two winners’ medals earned with Barcelona in 2009 and 2011.
- Fernando Torres has scored four goals in his last two games - he currently has 23 in 92 for the club. The Spaniard is 3/1 to score the first goal with William Hill.
- Torres attempted nine shots in Chelsea's Champions League match against FC Nordsjelland, the most he has ever attempted in a game for the Blues - he scored two goals.
- Cesar Delgado (right) scored two goals for Monterrey in their last Club World Cup match against Ulsan Hyundai, with the match ending 3-1 to the Mexicans.
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Top 3 Predictions
Monterrey 1-3 Chelsea FC
- 15.5 %
Monterrey 0-3 Chelsea FC
- 13.91 %
Monterrey 0-4 Chelsea FC
- 9.03 %
|World Club Championship (CWC)||13 Dec 2012||Monterrey 1 - Chelsea FC 3|
|18 May 2013||América 2 - Monterrey 1||MEX1|
|16 May 2013||Monterrey 2 - América 2||MEX1|
|12 May 2013||UANL Tigres 1 - Monterrey 1||MEX1|
|9 May 2013||Monterrey 1 - UANL Tigres 0||MEX1|
|5 May 2013||Monterrey 1 - Cruz Azul 5||MEX1|
|1||Jonathan Emmanuel Orozco||Goalkeeper|
|15||José María Basanta||Defender|
|18||Neri Raúl Cardozo||Midfielder|
|9||A. De Nigris||Striker|
|19||César Fabián Delgado||Midfielder|
|-||Jesús Alejandro Dautt Ramírez||Goalkeeper|
|23||Juan de Dios Ibarra||Goalkeeper|
|6||Héctor Miguel Morales||Midfielder|
|-||Oscar Sebastián Garcia Carmona||Defender|
|12||John Obi Mikel||Midfielder|
The young centre-back is tipped for a move to a big European team soon, so it will be interesting to see how he copes with Chelsea's energetic attacking line-up on Thursday. The captain of Mexico's Olympic team has taken on responsibility before, and at 23 years of age, is a leader on the pitch for Monterrey. He may not be at the Mexican side for long if he carries on his impressive form, and if he can deal with the in-form Fernando Torres, then watch this space.
The Spanish striker must be sick and tired of being man-marked out of games for Chelsea, but four goals in four days suggests he is ready to take on the challenge of being Roman Abramovich's main man once again. While Monterrey's defenders will be watching him like a hawk, Torres was in sublime form against Sunderland, with his first goal showing a return to the lethal form and movement of old. If he is in the mood, he will be difficult to keep out.
Monterrey gained a confidence-boosting victory against Ulsan Hyundai in the Club World Cup in the previous round but Chelsea should be a different kettle of fish altogether. With the London club high on confidence after two emphatic wins over Nordsjaelland and Sunderland, the Mexican side will put up a good fight, but Benitez's team should have too much skill and firepower for them on the day.
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed