Can Chelsea see Marseille off without Drogba and Lampard?

Chelsea vs Marseille
Group Stage, UEFA Champions League
Stamford Bridge, London
Tuesday, 28 September 2010
19:45 BST (+1 GMT)

Chelsea will be hopeful that the Newcastle horrors in the Carling Cup will be forgotten by the time the Ligue 1 champions, Marseille, face them in the Champions League group stage game.

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The last season ended for the Blues with 17 goals in the last three games of the season and they managed to pick up where they left off and scored 28 in the last six games. Carlo Ancelotti’s men’s opening fixture produced a 4-1 win over the Slovaks MSK Zilina.

Ancelotti must be delighted with his side’s free scoring ways, but the Chelsea manager must have realized the fact his side thrashed the easier opponents but Manchester City proved to be too much of a hurdle for them.

Marseille could be seen as something for Ancelotti and his men to march forward from how their season start and forgetting about the two recent defeats. The defeat at Eastlands was not much of a worry for Chelsea as Arsenal and Manchester United failed to take advantage of the dropped points by the Blue Londoners.

Florence Malouda will be a key man for Chelsea as his goals per game ratio has shot up insanely. The sum of his goals per game in the last three seasons is just over half of his goals per game this season. His conversion rate has improved marginally as well. On average, Malouda gets three shots on goal and he’s scoring a goal a game.

Didier Drogba will miss the chance to face his former employers as he will be serving a three-match ban he received after he was sent off against Inter Milan. Salomon Kalou with his hamstring and Yossi Benayoun with his calf will be unavailable and Frank Lampard is still struggling with his hernia problem.

Possible Starters:
Ivanovic, Alex, Terry, Cole
Essien, Mikel, Ramires
Anelka, Sturridge, Malouda


Marseille, on the other hand, suffered a surprising defeat at the hands of Spartak Moscow at home in their opening fixture and that could very well cost them a place in the next round.

Coach, Didier Deschamps, will make his return to Stamford Bridge after playing one season for the Blues near end of his career at the turn of the century. Deschamps also spent six months under Ancelotti as a player while the Italian was in charge at Juventus but both managers know it won’t be an easy job facing each other.

Marseille had a mediocre start to the season; they failed to win their opening two games of the season and then winning against PSG on penalties followed by wins over Arles and Sochaux.

The French outfit has been playing very successfully on the wings in the Champions League and the crosses have been coming in more than any other side in the competition – their success-rate is quite high as well. Marseille has put in 33 crosses and 13 of them have been successfully delivered. Second to them are Barcelona with 25 attempted and eight successful. Marseille’s opponents are 13th on the list with just ten attempted and only two of them have been successful.

Souleymane Diawara and Loic Remy are already back in the squad. Remy replaced Andre Ayew in the second half on the weekend and after he assisted a goal for Lucho Gonzalez, he might have earned a starting XI spot in the teams.

Possible Starters
Azpilicueta, Diawara, Heinze, Taiwo
Remy, Cheyrou, Gonzalez, Cisse, Ayew

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