Europa League Preview: Chelsea - Sparta Prague
Having won a dour first leg 1-0 away from home thanks to a goal from Oscar, the Premier League side welcomes the Czechs to its home ground for the return fixture.
By Chris Teale
Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill, Bertrand
Marin, Mata, Oscar
Zapotocny, Hybs, Svejdik, Pamic
Vacha, Matejovsky, Jarosik, Husbauer, Krejci
For the home side, Demba Ba is cup tied having appeared for Newcastle in the competition this season, so Fernando Torres should lead the line.
Chelsea may start with a strong side as it looks to wrap up the tie, with manager Rafael Benitez expected to rotate if a victory is secured.
Meanwhile, the Blues have no new injury or suspension worries ahead of this game, with David Luiz available again.
For Sparta, Jiri Jarosik missed the first leg with injury but should be fit for this game and, despite his poor finishing in the first leg, striker David Lafata should continue up front.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- The first leg of this tie was Chelsea’s first game in this competition since the 2002-03 season.
- Brazilian Oscar (pictured) was on the pitch for less than a minute before he scored the winning goal in the first leg last week.
- Before the first-leg clash, these teams last met in the group stage of the 2003-04 Champions League, with the Blues taking four points from the two games.
- Sparta Prague has never won a major club competition organized by UEFA.
- Sparta captain Marek Matejovsky spent two seasons with Reading in the Premier League, making 51 appearances for the Royals and scoring twice.
- The club’s most famous run in a European competition came in the first ever Champions League in the 1991-92 season, when it defeated Rangers and Marseille to reach the semifinal stage.
Top 3 Predictions
Chelsea 3-0 Sparta Praha
- 21.6 %
Chelsea 2-0 Sparta Praha
- 15.69 %
Chelsea 3-1 Sparta Praha
- 11.94 %
|Europa League (EL)||Feb 21, 2013||Chelsea 1 - Sparta Praha 1|
|Europa League (EL)||Feb 14, 2013||Sparta Praha 0 - Chelsea 1|
|Dec 7, 2013||Stoke 3 - Chelsea 2||EPL|
|Dec 4, 2013||Sunderland 3 - Chelsea 4||EPL|
|Dec 1, 2013||Chelsea 3 - Southampton 1||EPL|
|Nov 26, 2013||Basel 1 - Chelsea 0||UCL|
|Nov 23, 2013||West Ham 0 - Chelsea 3||EPL|
|12||John Obi Mikel||Midfielder|
Times In EDT
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed