Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Chelsea v Shakhtar Donetsk - Preview

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Ashley Cole has been ruled out of Chelsea's crunch Champions League clash with Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday due to injury.

Chelsea will look to get their defence of the UEFA Champions League crown back on track as they seek revenge against Shakhtar Donetsk at Stamford Bridge.

Blues were shocked by the Ukrainian side as they suffered a 2-1 defeat in Donetsk last time out in Europe, with the hosts producing a dominant display.

That result left Roberto Di Matteo's men second in Group E and three points adrift of Shakhtar going into Wednesday's reverse fixture in London.

The defending champions will bid to reclaim the top spot against Mircea Lucescu's side as they look to avoid becoming the first holders in the tournament's history to be dumped out at the group stage.

Chelsea have claimed only four points from their opening three games and with third-placed Juventus just a point behind, Di Matteo will be viewing Wednesday's encounter as must-win tie.

A good result against the visitors would also lift the Blues after they were knocked from the top of the Premier League by Manchester United at the weekend, having been pegged to a late draw at Swansea.

The holders enter the clash boasting an imposing home record on the continent, having won 61 and lost just five of their 88 games in Europe on their own turf.

Shakhtar are yet to lose in all competitions this season and currently sit 12 points clear at the top of the Ukrainian Premier League.

They have never won on English soil but will be feeling confident after an impressive performance against the Blues last month.

John Terry should return to lead the side after completing his four-match domestic racism ban, Juan Mata and David Luiz are expected to shake off knocks that sidelined them at the weekend, but Frank Lampard (calf) is now a major doubt for England's friendly in Sweden next week.

Shakhtar boss Lucescu has the luxury of a full-strength squad at his disposal for the trip to London, with no injuries or suspensions affecting the side.

Defender Dmytro Chygrynskiy could be awarded a starting spot after missing the first tie between the two sides last month.

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