November 5, 19:45 BST
Ljudski Vrt, Maribor
The return leg of the Champions League group stage match-up between Chelsea and Maribor sees the Premier League leaders travel to the Ljudski Vrt stadium with the expectation of picking up an easy win.
The first match at Stamford bridge saw Chelsea hand out a 6-0 thrashing to the Slovenian outfit, and the same is expected in this lopsided clash.
Chelsea sit top of the standings with 7 points from three games, and a win over Maribor will ensure they qualify for the knockout stages. For Maribor, this one is just about putting on a better performance after the hiding they received at Stamford Bridge.
Team News and Tactics
The home side will be looking to see more of the ball than they did last time, and try to keep Chelsea’s rampant attacking force at bay. The first leg saw Chelsea hog much of the possession, as expected, with Maribor forced to rely on long balls and clearances to have any chance of getting a goal.
There is far too much difference in quality in the two sides, and tactical ingenuity cannot simply make up for the fact that Chelse are too well-drilled and world-class a side for Maribor to have any plans against.
Probable starting line-up: Handanovic, Stojanovic, Rajcevic, Suler, Viler, Mejac, Mertelj, Filipovic, Bohar, Morales Tavares, Ibraimi
The main news will be if Mourinho will start with striker Diego Costa, considering the Brazilian has just returned to action last week after being out injured for a while. Costa was relatively subdued against QPR and looked like he lacked match fitness, and with Loic Remy out injured, Didier Drogba looks likely to get the nod as the main striker.
Mourinho has, otherwise, a complete squad to choose from with no suspensions. With the Blues expected to stroll to an easy win, Mourinho might look at given the fringe players an opportunity in the game. The likes of Courtois, Willian and John Terry could be rested with a trip to Liverpool to come on Saturday. Players like Cech, Zouma and Luis are likely to get starts.
Probable starting line-up: Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Zouma, Luis, Matic, Fabregas, Oscar, Schurrle, Hazard, Drogba
In their previous group stage appearance 15 years ago, Maribor finished in fourth place with four points.
The Blues are 15 matches unbeaten in 2014/15, winning 12. Chelsea have not lost since April’s UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg defeat at home against Simeone’s Atletico Madrid.
Drogba has scored in three of the Chelsea’s last four matches.
Player To Way Out For:
Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
The Belgian has had a low-key start to the season, registering 5 goals and 2 assists so far, with 2 of those goals coming against Maribor in that match at Stamford Bridge.
Hazard will be looking to get on the scoresheet against a defense that already leaked 6 goals in the first leg. With the game against Liverpool in mind, it is possible Hazard maybe substituted early, so it is imperative that the Belgian playmaker makes the most of his opportunity to get back into the form that saw him become Chelsea’s most dangerous and creative outlet last season.
A solid, no-fuss away win for Chelsea with a 0-3 scoreline looks very much on the cards. Maribor have nothing that could trouble the Blues, so Mourinho will be expecting his men to finish the job early and see out the game without exerting themselves too much.