A former Stamford Bridge hero set for a hard time?
Chelsea are boosted by the return of Ricardo Carvalho as they look to turn around a 2-1 deficit to Inter Milan in their Champions League last-16 tie.
The Portuguese defender has not played since the Blues’ 4-2 loss to Manchester City on 27 February but has shaken off a hamstring strain and will start.
Third-choice goalkeeper Ross Turnbull will continue in goal for the hosts.
Inter look set to be without Thiago Motta (thigh), Marko Arnautovic (flu) and Mario Balotelli (knee).
And the Italians go into the game on the back of a 3-1 league defeat to Calcio Catania on Friday, though manager Jose Mourinho made four changes to his side for that match, partly with Tuesday’s second-leg tie in mind.
The match will be Mourinho’s first at Stamford Bridge since he was sacked in September 2007 and the Portuguese is sure to receive a hero’s welcome.
In his time at Chelsea, he led them to successive Premier League titles and FA Cup and Carling Cup triumphs – but current Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti, who is rumoured to have fallen out with Mourinho during his time as AC Milan coach, is not worried that the fans’ loyalty will be divided.
“It won’t be difficult for the fans,” said Ancelotti. “Before the game Mourinho will have a very good reception but after that Chelsea fans are Chelsea fans.”
And the Italian is determined Tuesday’s match is not billed as him against Mourinho, saying: “I don’t have a problem with Mourinho. I have never had a problem with him.
“It’s a game between Chelsea and Inter, not me against Mourinho.
“It’s a game that will be a fantastic one. We want to show our best. I think if Chelsea play at their best we win.
Chelsea (from): Turnbull, Taylor, Ivanovic, Kalou, Alex, Drogba, Malouda, Terry, Carvalho, Borini, Lampard, Obi, Deco, Anelka, Zhirkov, J Cole, Belletti, Ballack, Kakuta, Sturridge. (BBC Sport)
Inter Milan fell to a surprise defeat at Catania on the weekend and watched as AC Milan pegged back their lead so this couldn’t be a better time for Carlo Ancelotti to take on Jose Mourinho at Stamford Bridge in what will surely be an emotional occasion for the former Blues boss.
Chelsea will be favourites in my mind and with fair reason and I can see the west London club preventing the visitors from scoring and then the game is very much in their reach. With an on fire Didier Drogba to call upon, the Ivorian’s heroics almost forgotten outside Stamford Bridge as everyone notices Wayne Rooney’s scoring record. Drogba has managed 26 goals from 31 starts against Rooney’s 32 goals from 36 starts.
Man United proved when they annihilated AC Milan that the gulf between the Premier League and Serie A is still a large one and that is why I am confident that Ancelotti will taste victory tonight.
My Bet of the Day would be on Chelsea to win 2-0 at 11/2. Then as an outside bit of fun bet on the game getting a little tasty when it becomes clear that the Italians will be knocked out you get 11/10 on there being six or more cards shown.
My Prediction: 2-0 to Chelsea