Chelsea travel to the Parkin Stadium on Tuesday night, to face Champion’s league last 16 opponents, FC Copenhagen. The 38 000 capacity stadium has been the scene of two draws and a win in their three home matches, including a very credible 1-1 draw against Europe’s golden boys, Barcelona. However the Dane’s have not played competitively since 7th December 2010, when they crushed Panathinaikos 3-1.They have played six friendlies since then, all against Nordic opposition.
The main link between the two sides is one Jesper Gronjaer, who will live forever in Chelsea folklore for scoring the winner, to secure Champion’s League football, pre- Abramovich.
Chelsea’s away form, in the last 16 phase, is far from impressive, however we will be far too strong for the Danes, in every department. A certain Fernando Torres, Chelsea’s number nine, will relish his return to Europe’s premier competition. Messer’s Terry, Lampard et al, know this is the last chance saloon for silverware with only 4th place left to play for domestically. This should be Carlo’s easiest team-talk of the year.
As far as team news goes, Chelsea are nearing full strength with Zirchov back, Alex should be fit for the return, leaving only Benayoun in the treatment room. Unfortunately, the excellent Luiz is cup-tied so I expect Chelsea to line-up with Cech in goal, Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry and ‘Saracens bound’ Ashley Cole at the back. A midfield of Essien, Lampard and the improving Ramires, with Anelka ‘in the hole’ behind a front two of Torres and Drogba.
Chelsea will wrap this one up before the return leg with a 3-0 stroll to save Ancelotti’s bacon!
The long road to Wembley in May will be a little shorter come Wednesday morning.