Chelsea will be looking for revenge on Wednesday evening when they host Shakhtar in the Champions League as Ladbrokes release the latest odds on Chelsea v Shakhtar as well as Celtic v Barcelona.
Last time out in this competition, they lost 2-1 to the Ukrainian outfit and they cannot afford another defeat.
Looking at Group E going into this fixture, Shakhtar are leading the way with seven points, while Chelsea are in 2nd place, three points adrift. If they want to win this group, they need to pick up the three points tonight.
Backed by the Stamford Bridge crowd, they will certainly be favourites, and at a price of 11/10 this could certainly attract plenty of attention from punters.
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This brings added pressure – as does the fact that they need to respond from a defeat – but as European Champions, they are used to this by now.
They will be boosted by the return from suspension of skipper John Terry, and although he looks to be a little short of the player he once was, this will be an added boost for the Blues, although Ashley Cole will miss out on the left with a knock.
Much of the emphasis will once again be on the midfield trio of Juan Mata (who faces a late fitness test), Oscar and Eden Hazard to break through a stubborn looking Shakhtar defence, and back up a misfiring Fernando Torres, who once again looks desperate for a goal.
Roberto Di Matteo will want his team to simply focus on Wednesday’s fixture. He needs them to put any off the field distractions to one side and go and win a football game. After all, with home advantage and an abundance of attacking talent, they should have enough.
As for Shakhtar, they go into this one safe in the knowledge that they can beat Chelsea. It will be tougher away from home, but they are leading the way in this group and will take confidence from this.
Looking at their recent form, they definitely have a winning habit at the moment.
Six wins in succession has seen their self-belief at an all time high and they haven’t tasted defeat in a competitive match since November last year, when they lost at Porto in the Champions League, while a draw with Juventus already this campaign has deemed them a worthy opponent tonight, and their 3/1 price on the away win will certainly attract the value punters.
They would arguably settle for a point on Wednesday, but they will be going for the win. Manager Mircea Lucescu knows that three points in this one and his team are virtually assured a place in the knockout stages.
There should be plenty of goals tonight – Shakhtar have actually scored in every match they’ve played in, and with the away side’s confidence and Chelsea’s slightly stuttering form – by their recent standards anyway – this should be a very entertaining and competitive Champions League fixture.