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Chelsea look to secure qualification in first game on Slovenian soil


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Chelsea will be looking to extend their unbeaten record in all competitions when they visit NK Maribor on Matchday 4 of the UEFA Champions League here on Wednesday night.

Venue: Stadion Ljudski vrt Date: Wednesday, 5 November Kick-off: 19:45 GMT


Despite having the worst goal difference in the group, the club from Slovenia are currently 3rd with 2 points on the board. While expectations are low from the Slovenian side, they held both Schalke and Sporting to draws before succumbing to Chelsea. But they head into this fixture in poor form winning just 2 of their last 5 games, losing the rest.

The Slovenian champions usually play a 4-4-2 formation, with the strategy of drawing teams out and waiting for the right space to open up before striking the opposition. Their game revolves around their lone striker, Marcos Tavares, who is fed by playmakers Agim Ibraimi and Zeljko Filipovic.

Chelsea have never played in Slovenia. but three English clubs have previously made the trip to Maribor with a mixed bag of results. Wigan Athletic were beaten last year, while Tottenham Hotspur were held to a draw a year earlier. In 2011, Birmingham City won 2-1 in the Europa League group stages.


The Blues were comfortable winners, a fortnight ago, the last time these two sides met with Eden Hazard starring in a 6-0 rout. Chelsea bounced back well from the disappointing 1-1 draw on Matchday one at home to Schalke, registering a win away at Sporting before thrashing Maribor at Stamford Bridge. Jose Mourinho’s men are currently on top of Group E on 7 points with three games left. A win tonight would put them on the brink of qualification into the knockout stages.

The talk of “Chelsea invincibles” maybe a little premature but there is a good chance that Chelsea’s unbeaten run will continue tonight. While the Blues struggled in their last few games, drawing at Old Trafford before winning narrowly against Shrewsbury and QPR, there is cause for optimism in the news that there are no fresh fitness concerns. Diego Costa, who returned to action in the weekend win over QPR, has traveled along with the team to QPR but may well be rested in favour of Didier Drogba. Andre Schurrle, who came on as a substitute in the weekend may be handed another chance to impress after Mourinho openly criticized his performance in the League Cup game against Shrewsbury while Kurt Zouma could start in place of John Terry. Only Loic Remy and John Obi Mikel are unavailable for selection.


Chelsea (probable’s) – Cech Azpilicueta Zouma Cahill Luis Mikel Matic Oscar Schurrle Hazard Drogba

Possible XI: Handanovic; Viler, Suler, Rajcevic, Mejac; Bohar, Mertelj, Filipovic, Vrsic; Tavares, Ibraimi

Form guide (all competitions)

Maribor: LWWLLW

Chelsea: WWDWWW

Past Meeting

Chelsea 6 (Remy, Drogba, Terry, Viler og, Hazard 2) NK Maribor 0, Champions League, October 2014

Stats and Facts

This is Chelsea’s first game in Slovenia
NK Maribor’s 18-year-old Luke Zahovic is the top scorer in the Slovenian league with eight goals
Maribor are the only Slovenian side to have beaten English opponents in UEFA competition
Chelsea are unbeaten in all competitions

Match Coverage

Depending on where you are from, you can watch the match in the following channels:

United Kingdom: ITV

United States: Fox Soccer

Middle East: BeIN Sports

Click here to view article.

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