2016/17 Champions League
Published: 12:29 22/02/2011
Carlo Ancelotti is set to re-shuffle his starting eleven to find the winning formula he needs to keep Chelsea in the honours hunt in Denmark on Tuesday night.
Confidence is low in the puzzled Chelsea camp as they struggle to solve the problems that have seen them drop out of contention of all three domestic trophies with three months of the season still remaining. The Champions League Trophy is the last available prize and the Blues face FC Copenhagen in the first-leg of the round-of-16 and must find some answers quickly to avoid devastating consequences at Stamford Bridge.
Nine weeks ago, the draw against the Danish champions appeared a formality for the current Premier League champions but since then Chelsea have scraped together just five wins from twelve games which strikes no awe with the Copenhagen squad. Some of Stale Solbakken’s team believe they are a better side than Chelsea and certainly showed Barcelona they were no pushovers with a draw in the Group D game at the Parken Stadion.
Having seen his side lose the extra-time advantage against Everton to crash out of the FA Cup at the weekend, Ancelotti is expected to ring the changes on Tuesday. Fernando Torres is set to return after being cup-tied and will try to justify his big price tag. Michael Essien and Nicolas Anelka started on the bench against Everton and the pair could be lining up for the kick off. Jose Bosingwa has recovered from injury and he will be in the reckoning for the crucial first leg tie.
David Luiz who signed from Benifica in January is ineligible to play and fellow central defender Alex remains unavailable with his knee injury to force a reshuffle at the back.
Skipper, John Terry has been tub-thumping coming into the game, but will need to stand firm himself against the threat of Copenhagen striker Dame N’Doye who has banged in 13 goals in 18 games this season.
33-year-old Jesper Gronkjaer is relishing the visit of his former club as Copenhagen prepare to play their first competitive game for more than two months due to the winter break. The veteran midfielder played 88 times for Chelsea between 2000-2004 and knows a physical battle is in store.
Possible starting lineups:
COPENHAGEN: Wiland, Pospech, Antonsson, Jorgensen, Wendt, Bolanos, Claudemir, Kvist, Gronkjaer, Santin, N'Doye.
CHELSEA: Cech, Bosingwa, Terry, Ivanovic, Cole, Ramires, Essien, Lampard, Malouda, Anelka, Torres.