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Chelsea welcome Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk to Stamford Bridge in a Champions League Group E encounter, with the Blues looking to avenge the defeat in the reverse fixture two weeks ago.
Where to Watch Live
Kick-off is set for 7:45 pm BST. Live coverage will be available on Sky Sports 3.
In a group that is clearly a three-horse battle, this round of fixtures will be vital in deciding the qualifying spots. Shakhtar were touted as the dark horses in this edition of the Champions League and they have lived up to the expectations. The Ukrainians are presently group leaders, with a sizeable three point advantage over holders Chelsea. Serie A champions Juventus are a point behind the Blues.
Shakhtar have won 18 of 19 competitive games this season, with Juventus being the only side to avoid a defeat against them so far. And with their 100 percent domestic record, they are 12 points clear of their nearest opponents in the Ukrainain Premier League. Mircea Lucescu's side dominated Chelsea and posted a 2-1 victory in Donetsk two weeks ago - a scoreline that flattered the Blues after a highly one-sided game.
Chelsea, on the other hand, had a fantastic start to their season but their form has dipped after the last international break. The European champions have triumphed just once in their past four matches, that too a 5-4 win in extra time against a second-string Manchester United in the League Cup. With Juventus hosting the group's whipping boys Nordsjaelland on the same evening, three points is a must for Roberto Di Matteo's side when they take on Shakhtar.
- Last Five (all competitions, most recent first): D W L L W
- Last Result: Swansea City 1 - 1 Chelsea
- Last Five (all competitions, most recent first): W W W W W
- Last Result: Shakhtar Donetsk 2 - 0 Metalurh Zaporizhzhya
Chelsea: Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole are both sidelined for this game. However, the Blues are expected to have Juan Mata and David Luiz back after the duo missed the Swansea game due to injuries. John Terry is available as well but Di Matteo has admitted that he might not start the skipper, who has just completed a four-game domestic suspension.
With Cole out and Terry unsure, Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill, Luiz and Ryan Bertrand should feature at the back. John Obi Mikel and Ramires will be the central midfielders, while Mata, Oscar, Eden Hazard and Fernando Torres will form the front four.
Shakhtar Donetsk: Lucescu does not have any injury or suspension worries and has a full squad to pick from. Former Barcelona man Dmytro Chygrynskiy may come into the side after missing the reverse fixture due to injury. As we witnessed in that game, Shakhtar plays a solid 4-2-3-1 system, with emphasis on high-tempo attacking and quick combinations from their attacking quartet, who are as good as Chelsea's.
In Willian, the Blues face a player that they have been trying to snap up for several years, while fellow Brazilian winger Alex Teixeira has been in sublime form this season, netting nine times already. Their compatriot, Luiz Adriano, will lead the attack as the lone striker. But the spotlight will be on playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan, touted as the next big thing in European football. The Armenia international has been unstoppable this term, scoring 14 goals in 13 league appearances. The 23-year-old played between the lines in the first game and drew Terry out of position quite a few times, creating space for his team-mates to attack into.
Possible Starting Line-ups:
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Luiz, Bertrand; Ramires, Mikel; Mata, Oscar, Hazard; Torres
Shakhtar Donetsk (4-2-3-1): Pyatov; Srna, Chygrynskiy, Rakitskiy, Rat; Fernandinho, Hubschman; Teixeira, Mkhitaryan, Willian; Adriano