Chelsea followed up their hugely important 1-0 win against Manchester United with a 4-0 thumping of West Brom at the weekend, and as such will head into their crucial Champions League clash against Qarabağ tonight full of confidence.
Their Azerbaijani hosts may have been on the receiving end of a pummeling when the two sides met at Stamford Bridge in September, but back-to-back draws with Atlético Madrid in their last 2 European outings have definitely proved them to be no pushovers.
Concentration and professionalism, then, are the order of the day for Chelsea and Antonio Conte as they seek to catch Roma at the top of Group C. A strong starting XI will be required to get the job done, and this is the team we expect them to go with:
|PLAYER||% MINS PLD||GLS||AST.|
|0||1||0 / 0|
|2||5||1 / 0|
|2||0||4 / 1|
|1||2||4 / 0|
|1||1||0 / 0|
|1||0||1 / 0|
|0||0||0 / 0|
|3||1||3 / 0|
|1||2||0 / 0|
|9||4||3 / 0|
|3||3||0 / 0|
|Totals||23||19||16 / 1|
|TOTAL PREMIER LEAGUE EXPERIENCE|
A number of changes from the side that lined up at The Hawthorns last weekend are expected, but there will still be plenty of quality amongst the Chelsea ranks.
César Azpilicueta, David Luiz and Antonio Rüdiger will form Chelsea’s now trademark back 3, and will look to continue an encouraging start to their careers together. The trio has started 7 games alongside one another previously, winning on 5 occasions.
N'Golo Kanté and Danny Drinkwater formed the central midfield partnership that shook English football during their time together at Leicester City, but are yet to start together since they both completely their respective moves to Stamford Bridge. Tonight could be the night, however, and all eyes will be on them to see if they can rekindle that old magic.
Antonio Conte may have confirmed star man Eden Hazard’s fitness in his pre-match press conference, but he still looks set to let the Belgian take a rest on the bench tonight. Willian, Pedro and Álvaro Morata will start together, and Chelsea have never lost previously when that has been the case.
Overall, it’s an incredibly strong Chelsea side, and one that looks highly likely to claim victory here. A big clash Liverpool this weekend may be looming, but with the opportunity to claim qualification for the last 16 at stake, their stars need not lose concentration.