After an excellent result in North London against Arsenal over the weekend, Chelsea are looking to keep their Champions League dreams on track with victory on Tuesday.
FC Nordsjaelland (FCN) were the surprise winners of last year's Danish Superliga, and are enjoying their first season in the Champions League. Despite being seen as the 'minnows' of group E, the young team could cause Chelsea problems down the track if the Blues don't win on Tuesday.
FCN haven't lost at home this season, and the Blues failed to win any games away from home in last year's group stage: Can FCN manage a shock result, or will the Blues continue their fine form?
In a pre-match interview with the club's website, Roberto Di Matteo has insisted that he'll be fielding a strong side against FCN, and highlighted the importance of getting all 3 points. “For us it's probably the most important game in the group because we drew the first game at home, so it's important we gain points away from home.”
Frank Lampard is set to make a return to the starting lineup - despite growing speculation that the iconic midfielder's career is coming to an end, Di Matteo still believes he has a part to play in his plans.
"He's a very important player for us," Di Matteo said. "I've had conversations with him, yeah, which I do on a regular basis with the players. I like to exchange opinions. He's very supportive of the team when he's not in the team. When he's in the team, he's a great performer as well."
Daniel Sturridge is still struggling with the hamstring injury he picked up before the Juventus game, however David Luiz has been been cleared of any injury issues despite hobbling off early against Arsenal. Marko Marin and Lucas Piazon have also joined the team, and will most likely feature at some point.
It's been a fairytale run of results for 'The Wild Tigers' in recent years. Back-to-back cup victories were followed up by last year's Superliga title, and their recent success has seen 5 players called up to the national squad.
Coach Kasper Hjulmand has said he expects 'dedication, joy and courage' from his team on Tuesday. In a pre-match interview the young coach said that, “We [FCN] are really looking forward to this match. We are proud to be here, and our first home match is going to be special. We feel a lot of joy and pride to be in the Champions League.”
FCN have no injuries to worry about, and will most likely field the same team that saw off Esbjerg FB 3-0 over the weekend. Joshua John will be looking to continue his sensational scoring streak – The on loan F.C Twente forward has netted 8 goals in as many fixtures, and will be FCN's most dangerous attacking option.
Chelsea F.C - W W W D D
F.C Nordsjaelland – W W D L L
Chelsea: Cech, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Luiz, Bertrand; Mikel, Lampard; Moses, Hazard, Marin; Torres
F.C Nordsjaelland: Hansen; Parkhurst, Okore, Runje, Mtiliga; Adu, Stokholm; Lorentzen, Christensen, John; Beckmann
Chelsea seem to enjoy playing in Copenhagen, having won all of their past competitive fixtures in the Danish Capital. FCN usually manage to retain a lot of possession when they play (They had 62% possession against Shakhtar Donetsk in their opening Champions League Game), however they will undoubtedly struggle against a high-flying Chelsea. I predict a 4-1 victory for the Blues, who will prove to be too much for the Wild Tigers to handle.