Steaua – Chelsea 01.10.2013
Steaua come into this game with an unbeaten start to their league campaign.
However, they suffered a heavy 3:0 defeat to Schalke 04 in their opening match in UEFA Champions League. Steaua will again be without Alexandru Chipciu and Stefan Nikolic, but otherwise they have little to worry about in terms of injury. The Romanians are not the same team from the last year, because they sold two of their best players, the top scorer Raul Rusescu (Sevilla) and the central defender Vlad Chiriches (Tottenham). Federico Plovaccari could start up front after scoring at the weekend, while an injury suffered in training by Mihai Pintilii is threatening to rule him out.
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After the shock opening day defeat to Basel, Tuesday night’s away clash in Bucharest becomes a must win game for Chelsea. The return of the Special One (Jose Mourinho) at Stamford Bridge did not bring the necessary confidence so far. Chelsea already suffered two defeats, from Everton and Basel. However, I believe Mourinho can handle with the pressure. At the moment Chelsea are in solid form, with two wins and one draw on the last three matches.
Fernando Torres is available for this match as he is suspended only in domestic competition after his sending off at Tottenham at the weekend. Kevin De Bruyne has been dropped after a particularly poor performance at Swindon last week, while Marco van Ginkel is ruled out for the long term with an anterior cruciate ligament injury. Meanwhile, Mourinho has confirmed that the Spanish midfielder Juan Mata will be in the starting lineup at the Arena Nationala. Chelsea travel to Romania for this Champions League clash searching for their first points after a loss to Basel a fortnight ago. Lampard is in solid form and the fans are expecting to prove his class. He is Steaua’s biggest threat, with six league appearances, a goal, and an assist to his name this season.
Chelsea had already eliminated Steaua in the last season’s UEFA Europe League. They lost 1:0 as guests, but won 3:1 in the reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge and managed to qualify for the next stage. It is clear this will be a very unpredictable match, but I believe Chelsea are closer to the victory. The quality is on their side, plus they have the best coach in Europe – Jose Mourinho.