No Mari-bore Draw for Chelsea Against Slovenians
Chelsea v Maribor
Chelsea entertain Maribor on Tuesday night hoping to earn the win which would already see them in great nick to win their Champions League group…
With only two dropped points in the Premier League so far this season – and those came after conceding a late goal to draw at champions Manchester City – it’s been very close to a perfect start to the campaign for Chelsea. The Blues’ latest win came against Crystal Palace on Saturday when two excellent goals at the beginning of either half from Oscar and Cesc Fabregas put their side well in command before a late Frazier Campbell tap in from close range made it a somewhat nervy finish.
Jose Mourinho’s charges are now five points clear of City following the highest tally for any side in the English top flight since his own Chelsea side from a decade ago. They’ve won one and drawn one of their two Champions League games to boot.Diego Costa has scored nine times in seven league games for his new side but sat out at the weekend after returning from international duty with a recurrence of his hamstring problem.
Maribor suffered only their third defeat of the season over the weekend, when they went down 2-1 at home to NK Celije on Saturday afternoon with Aleksander Rajcevic twice scoring at the wrong end. That first defeat in nine left them in second spot in the Slovenian league table although the Slovenian champions are yet to be beaten the Champions League, following successive 1-1 draws against Schalke and Sporting in their first two group games.
They had knocked out Maccabi Tel Aviv and Celtic in the previous rounds, when a 2-1 aggregate win was earned thanks to a 1-0 win at Celtic Park in the second leg to put them into the for the first time in 15 years.
Mourinho has already ruled out his top scorer for this tie with the Spaniard also a doubt for their weekend clash, with Loic Remy agains expected to start up front. French defender Kurt Zouma is also out with a hip problem, while the Blues have doubts over Didier Drogba (ankle), Andre Schurrle (illness) and Ramires (groin).
Young playmaker Petar Stojanovic is out for the visitors with a thigh problem with Welle Ndiaye is also a doubt as the Senegalese midfielder is suffering from an ankle problem.
Head to Head
This is the first time Chelsea have played a competitive game against Maribor, or any other side from Slovenia for that matter. In six games against English sides in Europe, they’ve won just once, a 2-1 victory over 2013 FA Cup winners Wigan in last season’s Europa League.
At a very slight 1/7 there’s not much value to be had on Chelsea for their second group win, and with a big chance of rotation against the group minnows from Mourinho ahead of next weekend’s trip to Manchester United it seems even more of a risk.
Keeping that in mind it could prove profitable to take a punt on the big 7/5 available on both teams to score, while the Special One will also want to put the game to bed as early as possible before seeing out the game, and so I like the 7/4 on the first half to feature more goals too.