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UEFA Champions League

  • 14 March 2012
  • • 19:45
  • • Stamford Bridge, London
  • Referee: F. Brych
  • • Attendance: 37784
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Chelsea win Aggregate 5 - 4

Chelsea - Napoli Preview: Hosts attempt to overturn 3-1 deficit in Champions League second-leg tie

The new coach faces a difficult challenge in only his third match in charge of the club against the Partenopei, who have won their last six consecutive matches, scoring 17 goals


PROBABLE LINEUPS

CHELSEA

Cech
Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Cole
Ramires, Essien, Lampard
Mata, Torres, Sturridge
NAPOLI

De Sanctis
Campagnaro, Cannavaro, Aronica
Maggio, Gargano, Inler, Zuniga
Hamsik, Lavezzi
Cavani

Roberto Di Matteo has yet to settle on a first-choice XI after his first two matches in charge and has spoken of the use of squad rotation.

Juan Mata, Fernando Torres, Daniel Sturridge and Michael Essien did not start against Stoke City last Saturday and could rotate into the starting line-up. John Terry and Ashley Cole recently returned from injury while Bosingwa is out with a hamstring problem. Raul Meireles is suspended.

Napoli have fielded a settled team throughout this season’s Champions League campaign, with a back three of Hugo Campagnaro, Paolo Cannavaro and Salvatore Aronica behind a central midfield duo of Gokhan Inler and Walter Gargano.

Juan Camilo Zuniga may start ahead of Andrea Dossena at left wing-back, while Christian Maggio is likely to feature on the right. Marek Hamsik and Ezequiel Lavezzi will start alongside Edinson Cavani in attack.


DID YOU KNOW?
  • Roberto Di Matteo takes charge of just his third match as Chelsea manager after Andre Villas-Boas' dismissal.
  • The Italian won his first two matches in charge with 2-0 victory against Birmingham in the FA Cup and a 1-0 win over Stoke last weekend.
  • Chelsea are in the last 16 for the ninth season in succession but have won just three of their seven Champions League matches this season, despite taking the lead in all seven games.
  • The Blues have drawn Italian opposition in two of the last three seasons at this stage, beating Juventus 3-2 on aggregate in 2008-09 but losing 3-1 on aggregate to Inter in 2009-10, who were then coached by former boss Jose Mourinho.
  • The Blues took the lead against Napoli in the first leg of the tie at the San Paolo through Juan Mata but were beaten 3-1 after two goals from Ezequiel Lavezzi and one from Edinson Cavani sealed a comeback victory.
  • Napoli went through their Champions League group stage group along with Bayern Munich ahead of Manchester City who they defeated 2-1 at home and drew with 1-1 away.
  • The club previously won the Uefa Cup in 1989, inspired by Argentine legend Diego Maradona.
  • The side have cultivated a fearsome reputation for counterattacking football, and top scorer Cavani has registered six goals in his last seven games for club and country, with 16 in Serie A and 5 in the Champions League so far this season.

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Reader's Predictions
Top 3 Predictions
Head to Head
UEFA Champions League ‎(UCL)‎ 14 Mar 2012 Chelsea FC 4 - Napoli 1
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UEFA Champions League ‎(UCL)‎ 21 Feb 2012 Napoli 3 - Chelsea FC 1
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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1Petr CechGoalkeeper
2Branislav IvanovicDefender
3Ashley ColeDefender
23David LuizDefender
26John TerryDefender
-Michael EssienMidfielder
7RamiresMidfielder
8Frank LampardMidfielder
8Juan MataStriker
11Didier DrogbaStriker
15Daniel SturridgeStriker
21Ross TurnbullGoalkeeper
3José BosingwaDefender
24Gary CahillDefender
12John Obi MikelMidfielder
15Florent MaloudaMidfielder
9Fernando TorresStriker
8Salomon KalouStriker
26Morgan De SanctisGoalkeeper
-Salvatore AronicaDefender
14Hugo CampagnaroDefender
-Paolo CannavaroDefender
11Christian MaggioMidfielder
17Marek HamsikMidfielder
18Camilo ZúñigaDefender
5Walter GarganoMidfielder
88Gökhan InlerMidfielder
9Edinson CavaniStriker
21Ezequiel LavezziStriker
22Antonio RosatiGoalkeeper
3Andrea DossenaDefender
21Federico FernándezDefender
5Miguel Angel BritosDefender
20Blerim DzemailiMidfielder
19Goran PandevStriker
-Edu VargasStriker
Players to Watch
Juan Mata
Juan Mata
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 8
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0

In the light of underperforming strikers, the Spanish playmaker has been Chelsea’s best player going forward this season, featuring either on the left of an attacking three or behind the striker.

He scored the Blues’ opening goal of the tie and will be at the centre of their offence on Wednesday.

Ezequiel Lavezzi
Ezequiel Lavezzi
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 21
Games Goals YC RC
10 2 0 0

The quick Argentine forward was Napoli’s biggest threat against Chelsea in first-leg, scoring two goals in the tie.

He is on a hot streak of form going into the match and has scored in each of the Partenopei’s last five games, hitting six in all, including winning goals at home to Inter Milan and away at Parma.
Prediction

Chelsea seem to have improved morale under Roberto Di Matteo but will face a Napoli side in superb form.

The Blues must attack to overturn the deficit but they will therefore expose themselves to the fearsome counter-attack of the Partenopei and could be out-gunned at Stamford Bridge. I fear a loss for the home side near, on the night and on aggregate.

Editor's Prediction
Napoli 2

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