Chelsea have a mountain to climb on Wednesday night as they look to overturn a two goal deficit against Serie A side Napoli in the last-16 second leg clash in the Champions League. Kick-off 19:45
Since the match at the San Paolo, Chelsea have decided to sack Andre Villas-Boas after a disappointing 1-0 to West Brom in the Premier League and the London club have replaced him with his assistant, former Chelsea midfielder Roberto Di Matteo. Di Matteo has started well as caretaker boss at Stamford Bridge with two wins out of two and Chelsea fans now have renewed hope that they can topple the Serie A highflyers at Stamford Bridge. Walter Mazzarri’s side have won six consecutive matches, including a 6-3 thrashing of Cagliari on Friday and they are brimming with confidence ahead of one of the biggest games in their History at Stamford Bridge. Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri will be serving the second of his two-match touchline ban during Wednesday’s game.
Roberto Di Matteo will be delighted to welcome club captain John Terry back for the vital clash after he played against Stoke City at the weekend and he looks set to partner Gary Cahill in defence with David Luiz dropping to the bench. The only doubts for Chelsea are defenders Jose Bosingwa (hamstring) and Branislav Ivanovic who suffered an injury at the weekend but otherwise, there are no other injury worries for the Blues.
Roberto Di Matteo and winger Juan Mata believe that they are good enough to overcome the deficit and Chelsea’s caretaker boss believes they need to produce a performance similar to that of Premier League rivals Arsenal, who overcame AC Milan 3-0 last Tuesday but lost 4-3 on aggregate.
“The players realise they can win,” Di Matteo said. “Arsenal did and now it’s up to us to have the belief we can do the same.”
Juan Mata said on the club’s website “Wednesday is like a final and we have to win at least 2-0, I think we can do it, we are confident after Saturday and we will try to give 100 per cent to qualify, In football nothing is impossible and at Stamford Bridge we have had good results in the Champions League, so I think we can do it.”
Napoli look set to continue with the same starting eleven who have got them to this stage with the prolific trio of Marek Hamsik, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Edinson Cavani hoping to lead Napoli to their first appearance in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Napoli playmaker Marek Hamsik expects a more confident and determined Chelsea side when Napoli arrive in West London but dismisses the possibility of Napoli imploding like AC Milan did to Arsenal last week.
“They’ve won two games in a row and will look to add to that against us,” said the Slovakian captain.
“However, my teammates and I are just thinking about ourselves, we believe in our strength. We can hit them on the counter-attack by exploiting the space that they will leave us. We saw the Arsenal-Milan match and we have to make sure that does not affect us. If we use the same tactics as Milan it would be a disaster.”
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Cole, Ramires, Essien, Lampard, Mata, Drogba, Sturridge
Napoli: De Sanctis, Campagnaro, Cannavaro, Aronica, Maggio, Gargano, Inler, Dossena, Hamsik, Lavezzi, Cavani