Beleaguered manager Carlos Ancelotti has a lot riding on Chelsea's Tuesday match against FC Copenhagen when the two clubs face off in Champions League action at Parken Stadion.
Chelsea have been in a bit of a tailspin recently after being knocked out of FA Cup contention in a home loss to Everton, and sputtering to a fifth place spot in the Premier League standings. A tie or win against Copenhagen would provide a much-needed boost for the London team.
Ancelotti has recently stated that defenders John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic, along with goalkeeper Petr Cech, are the only top eleven players who are playing near the top of their level.
That might be a way to ignite Florent Malouda, Frank Lampard, Ramires, Salomon Kalou and Ashley Cole. But what it also does, is call into question the recent acquisition of Spanish striker Fernando Torres.
The former Liverpool star, who has yet to score for Chelsea, has not looked like a great investment so far. Ancelotti could also use improved play from Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka. Drogba hasn't scored since January 24, when he was the first to net a goal in a 4-0 thrashing at Bolton.
Ancelotti, who recently addressed that he will stay on with Chelsea despite the club's struggles, will be without injured defender Alex, who is inactive with a knee injury, as well as midfielder Yossi Benayoun, who is out with an Achilles injury.
But Chelsea will have the services of rested players like Anelka, Michael Essien, and Jose Bosingwa.
Ancelotti remains confident in his side's chances as they attempt to salvage this season with a strong showing in Champions League play.
Chelsea won't go out against Copenhagen, he said.
On winter break, Copenhagen have played only friendlies in their last six matches. The Danish champions' pace will be tested by going up against up-tempo Chelsea.
Manager Stale Solbakken has a healthy side with the exception of central defender Solvi Ottesen, who remains out with a back injury.
Copenhagen is led by Senegal striker Dame N'Doye who is teamed with Brazilian wing Cesar Santin. The Danish club also will rely on the play of midfielder William Kvist. The captain was recently rumored to join La Liga club Sevilla.
Solbakken said his team is confident for the match in what he expects to be a close game.
Tomorrow is the night we have looked forward to for months, said Solkbakken on Monday.
We have been preparing for this match since the start of January and although we haven't had a competitive match in 2011 we are in fine shape and hopefully close to the level we were in the group stage.