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Chelsea Vs Sparta Prague Preview: Europa League Team News, Predicted Line-Ups, Match Facts, Highlights, Betting and More

Stamford Bridge side look to ease into the last 16 after their win away in Prague.

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Preview

Last season’s Champions League winners Chelsea headline the four English clubs vying for a berth in the last 16 of the Europa League on Thursday, as several high-profile names stare at the exit door.

Chelsea go into the second leg of their tie with Sparta Prague at Stamford Bridge holding a 1-0 advantage thanks to Oscar’s late strike a week ago in the Czech capital.

“We still have to concentrate to make sure we get the right result but we’re in a good position now so we have to follow it through,” said midfielder Frank Lampard.

Despite the ignominy of becoming the first Champions League winners to bow out at the group stage, Lampard, who is just three goals shy of Bobby Tambling’s club record tally of 202, insisted more European success was still firmly on Chelsea’s radar.

“If it’s hard (to focus on the Europa League after dropping out of the Champions League) then we’d better change that very quickly because we’re in this competition now so we have to get our attitude right.

“The Europa League is a fantastic competition to try and win, so that’s what we have to do.”

Team News

Frank Lampard will have to wait for his 200th Chelsea goal having been rested for the Europa League game with Sparta Prague.

Lampard, 34, has moved on to 199 goals – three short of Bobby Tambling’s club record of 202 – with a run of five goals from six matches.

But Benitez is keeping the veteran fresh for Sunday’s meeting with Manchester City.

“He won’t be in the squad. We have to manage it a little bit,” Benitez said.

“If he can score a lot of goals it will be fantastic for him and will be fantastic for us.

“Everybody knows that he is close. I am sure they will try to help if they have a chance. If we have a penalty, he can take it and things like this but the main thing is he’s doing well, scoring goals.”

Chelsea have a 1-0 lead over Sparta from last week’s round of 32 first leg.

The Blues have made no move to extend Lampard’s stay at Stamford Bridge beyond his current contract, which expires in the summer.

Benitez believes there are similarities between Lampard and Steven Gerrard, who the Spaniard worked with during his time as Liverpool manager.

He added: “In terms of liking to score goals and their timing getting into the box is really good, that’s their similarity.

“Both are offensive midfielders who can score every game. They can take penalties, free-kicks and can still score in open play. They are two great players.”

Although his team have an advantage going into the home leg, Benitez is adamant there is plenty more work to do to secure a spot in the last 16.

He said: “The shape of the team, movement and patterns were good and we were talking about that before. We know it will not be an easy game.”

Serbian defender Branislav Ivanovic will also be rested for the game, while striker Demba Ba is cup-tied.

Predicted Line-Ups

Chelsea: Cech; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Terry, Cole; Mikel, Ramires; Moses, Oscar, Hazard; Torres.

Sparta: Vaclik; Zapotocny, Svejdik, Holek, Hybs; Husbauer, Vacha, Matejovsky, Kadlec, Lafata; Krejci.

Best Bet

Chelsea to win 5-0 at 25/1: Chelsea vs Sparta Prague Betting


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