Chelsea will host FC Copenhagen in the second-leg of the Champions League last-16 round tie on Wednesday, knowing that even a 1-0 loss wouldn't halt their progress into the quarter-finals.
Despite coming off an FA Cup elimination against Everton and unnecessary shooting incident involving Ashley Cole, Chelsea secured a commendable 2-0 victory in the first leg at Copenhagen, with Nicholas Anelka bagging both goals. It was an important victory for the London side as it seems to have finally halted their bad run of form. Since then, Chelsea have gone on to secure wins at home against Manchester United and away at Blackpool.
However, it wasn't all peaches and cream for the London side. Despite facing an opposition playing their first competitive fixture after their winter break, Chelsea's £50m Fernando Torres failed to score his maiden goal for the club. He close when a shot was cleared off the line, but it is difficult to foresee another opportunity as easy as this for him to break his duck. Carlo Ancelotti hinted that he would drop Torres for the second-leg, adding that he was resting his striker since he had started all five games since his arrival.
Ancelotti said, Maybe Fernando will have a rest. I want to rotate my team and with everyone fit I will use all the players to preapre for this game and for Manchester City. Torres has played well for the team. The only problem is that he is a new player for us and he has to know our kind of play better.
Ancelotti went on to caution any complacency before the tie saying, We have to pay attention. Copenhagen are a good team with good organization.'' It was a thought reflected by vice-captain Frank Lampard, who urged his team-mates to forget the first game.
Lampard said, It is a case of preparing as if it is another 0-0 game to start with and forgetting the first game. It's all a mental thing. Individually and collectively you need to think like that in the dressing room and in the hotel the night before the game when we have meetings. You need to be professional.
'Training has been intense. We have been lucky in that we had a clear build-up to this game so we had the chance to work very hard and then the chance to ease off it a little bit before the match as you ideally want to do. 'This period has been a good period for us and possibly the last full week we will have to work together before the end of the season. We've been able to work on certain things and have definitely concentrated on them.'
However, Chelsea can afford to ease-up a bit considering their two away goal advantage. Ancelotti admitted that he would rest some of his constant starters, with one eye on Sunday's Premiership battle against Manchester City. Though it is a long-shot, It could motivate Copenhagen to save some dignity. Former Chelsea favorite Jesper Gronkjaer will be returning to Stamford Bridge and it will be an emotional night for him, having spent four years at the club.
The London side will be without David Luiz, who is ineligible for the Champions League having played in the group stages with Benefica, and Alex, who despite returning to training is not fully fit to feature.
With Chelsea seemingly returning to form, it's difficult to see anything but a comfortable home win. A 2-0 win for the Blues looks likely.