Chelsea face Galatasaray in their Champions League last 16 game that will no doubt be overshadowed by Didier Drogba’s return to Stamford Bridge. The Ivorian will play at the Bridge for the first time since hitting the winning penalty in the 2012 Champions League final, but will he return to break Chelsea hearts?
Drogba’s return will no doubt be an emotional one for Blues fans, much like Jose Mourinho’s return against Hull at the start of the season. But, in the midst of all that there is a Champions League quarter final place up for grabs. This is the most undecided tie of the round, with the first leg finishing 1-1 in Turkey. It’s not a result Chelsea can, or should, cling on to at home. They need a win.
Chelsea come in to this having lost 1-0 to Aston Villa at the weekend, a result which once again throws the destination of the Premier League title up in the air. Chelsea lead by four points from Liverpool, who have a game in hand, and they’re six points ahead of Manchester City, who have three games in hand.
A Champions League victory is exactly what is needed around Stamford Bridge to bounce back from the weekend’s defeat so Drogba’s return is hardly ideal. What should be a focused job will be interrupted by the return of a club legend. Despite that, Drogba’s return will be welcomed all round as it’s a sight few thought they’d see again, even though he’s not wearing blue.
Gala did manage to make last year’s quarter finals, going down to Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid, so they’re far from a walkover for the Blues. They’re on a 12 game unbeaten run, and they’ve got a proven match winner up front in Drogba. Chelsea have already lost once at home in the Champions League, a 2-1 defeat to Basel, and they’ll need to avoid another defeat if they’re to make it any further in Europe this season.
Chelsea have won 10 of their last 11 home games, and that record should go on here; Mourinho has unfinished business with the Champions League from his first spell at the club, and he knows he needs a result to get things back on track after ending the game against Villa with just nine men.
Chelsea may not be the favourites to win the Champions league but this squad, and Drogba, know that it’s not always Europe’s most talented team who are crowned kings of the continent. With two-time European Cup winner Mourinho in charge, Chelsea will be a threat for the trophy, and they should certainly do enough to progress to the next round.
LCN Verdict: Chelsea to win 3-1