The English Champions started their title defense in the worst possible way as they have been able to take just 4 points from their first 5 games. They made some smart buys in the transfer window, but the team seems to lack the confidence that gave them the brace last season. However, they have a new chapter starting against Maccabi Tel Aviv as they start their Champions League campaign against them.
The Tel Aviv coach, Slavisa Jokanovic has already issued a statement about his intentions to try and pile on the misery on the London Club. His team will have to travel to the Stamford Bridge and will be very happy if they can get a result out of it. This article is a preview of this Group G Champions League fixture. We have also included the Predictions and Expected Line-ups.
The Chelsea vs Maccabi Tel Aviv match will be played on Wednesday the 16th of September at the Stamford Bridge in London. The kick-off is scheduled at 7:45 pm BST (12:15 am on Thursday IST).
Chelsea suffered a huge setback before their last game as first choice keeper Thibaut Courtois picked up an injury that will keep him out of action for the next 10 weeks. Papy Djilobodji, will not be available for selection as he was not registered in the squad for the League.
Jokanovic is yet to confirm the injuries in his squad and will announce his team later. However, Eliazer Dasa will surely miss the game against Chelsea due to an injury he picked up earlier.
Chelsea has gone from bad to worse when they failed to even turn up at the Goodison Park in the weekend. Their 3-1 loss to Everton has surely dented their chances of a title defense, but Jose Mourinho has bigger problems to worry about. The lack of creativity is not even the first thing that will bother him. Mourinho will be frustrated by the lack of discipline at the back for Chelsea.
They have conceded far too many goals and have not been able to reply at the other end. The likes of Costa looked isolated and will need his players to step up if they want to get the best out of him. Maccabi on the other hand is yet to lose in their domestic league. They have take 7 points out of the possible nine and are a confident outfit.
The also impressed on their way to the group stage with victories against Swizz side Basel. Mourinho’s men have got a chance to stop all that is going wrong with their club and to get something out of this match, but their opponents may prove a bigger door to unlock than they look. Chelsea has their work cut out in their opening Champions League fixture.
Chelsea: Begovic, Ivanovic, Zouma, Terry, Azpilicueta, Matic, Fabregas, Pedro, Willian, Hazard, Costa.
Maccabi Tel-Aviv: Rajkovic, Shpungin, Ben Haim, Tibi, Ben Harush, Ben Haim II, Mitrovic, Alberman, Igiebor, Rikan, Zahavi.
Chelsea – 1.20
Draw – 7.50
Maccabi Tel-Aviv – 17.00
Though they have not started well and are low on confidence, Chelsea still has a very intimidating squad and Mourinho will pray that his players will be able to get the work done in this fixture. However, it may not be as easy and Maccabi may well be successful in pushing Chelsea deeper into the hole they seem to be digging at the moment.
Out Prediction: Chelsea 1-1 Maccabi Tel-Aviv