Rubin Kazan-Chelsea Preview: Visitors looking to protect two-goal aggregate lead in Moscow
Goals from Fernando Torres and Victor Moses in the first leg allow Rafa Benitez's men a bit of breathing space as they make the long trip to the Russian capital
By Al Hain-Cole
Kaleshin, Navas, Sharonov, Ansaldi
Kasaev, Eremenko, Karadeniz
Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Terry, Ake
Moses, Oscar, Hazard
Vladimir Dyadyun will compete for a place up front with Salomon Rondon for the hosts, who have no injury concerns to speak of.
Cesar Navas, Ivan Marcano and Roman Sharonov will fight for two places in the centre of defence, while Oleg Kuzmin may replace Gokdeniz Karadeniz on the right-hand side of midfield.
Chelsea face a potential dilemma at left-back, with the injured Ashley Cole's (hamstring) usual deputy Ryan Bertrand (virus) unfit to travel. Nathan Ake is the club's only other natural left-back, while Paulo Ferreira could fill in from his preferred right-back position.
Gary Cahill is still a couple of weeks away from returning after undergoing minor arthroscopic surgery to shave the meniscus on the knee he damaged in last month's win against West Ham.
With Demba Ba cup-tied, Fernando Torres will continue up front, having scored twice in the first leg at Stamford Bridge.
David Luiz, Ramires and Juan Mata are likely to be rested after playing three games in less than a week, so John Terry, Frank Lampard and Victor Moses should come into the starting line-up.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Chelsea have won all five of their previous games against Russian sides, conceding just twice in the process.
- The Blues beat Spartak Moscow 2-0 on their last visit to the Luzhniki Stadium, in the 2010-11 Champions League group stage.
- John Terry (right) will make his 100th European appearance if he plays in Moscow.
- Rubin's only previous home game against English opponents resulted in a 1-0 win over Tottenham in last season's Europa League.
- However, the Russians' only three defeats in their last 22 European 'home' games have come when hosting their matches in Moscow, as opposed to their Tsentralnyi Stadion in Kazan.
- Having already eliminated Europa League winners Atletico Madrid in the round of 32, Rubin could complete an unlikely double of knocking out the holders of both of last season's European trophies if they overcome Champions League holders Chelsea.
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Top 3 Predictions
Rubin Kazan 1-2 Chelsea FC
- 23.04 %
Rubin Kazan 0-2 Chelsea FC
- 15.73 %
Rubin Kazan 1-3 Chelsea FC
- 11.23 %
|UEFA Europa League (EL)||Apr 11, 2013||Rubin Kazan 3 - Chelsea FC 2|
|UEFA Europa League (EL)||Apr 4, 2013||Chelsea FC 3 - Rubin Kazan 1|
|Dec 7, 2013||Lok. Moscow 0 - Rubin Kazan 0||RUS1|
|Dec 2, 2013||Rubin Kazan 3 - Amkar 0||RUS1|
|Nov 28, 2013||Rubin Kazan 1 - NK Maribor 1||EL|
|Nov 23, 2013||Tom Tomsk 0 - Rubin Kazan 1||RUS1|
|Nov 10, 2013||Rubin Kazan 0 - Krasnodar 1||RUS1|
|12||John Obi Mikel||Midfielder|
The Venezuelan striker was suprisingly omitted from the starting XI for the first leg at Stamford Bridge, before being introduced at half-time with his side trailing. However, he will surely be in the side from the start as Kurban Berdyev's men seek to overturn a two-goal deficit, whether as the lone striker or alongside Vladimir Dyadyun, and he is more than capable of unsettling a reshuffled Chelsea defence with his pace and power.
The much-maligned striker faces an uphill struggle is he is ever to justify the record-breaking transfer fee that Roman Abramovich coughed up to bring him to west London, particularly with Demba Ba now keeping him out of the team in the big matches. However, the Spaniard was instrumental in earning his side a relatively comfortable first-leg victory, and will be eager to show what he can do once again in the absence of the cup-tied Senegalese forward.
Rafa Benitez's men have struggled away from home in this competition, and face probably their most difficult trip yet as they make the long journey to Russia. However, the hosts have not been entirely comfortable in their adopted Moscow home, and may have to settle for the consolation of a slender win that sees them crash out of the competition.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed