Wednesday, March 14, 2012

European Cup 2011 2012 Chelsea Napoli

14 March 2012
Stamford Bridge,

Referee: F. Brych

  An in-form Napoli travel to Stamford Bridge for the second leg of their Round of 16 tie in the Champions League. The Italians have a two goal lead going into this game, after having won the first leg by a 3-1 scoreline. Ezequiel Lavezzi bagged a brace in that match, with Edinson Cavani netting a goal as well and Juan Mata scoring the solitary goal for Chelsea. The battle is surely an uphill one for Roberto Di Matteo’s men, although the away goal should give them some relief. The tie promises to be an exciting one and Chelsea will be hoping to be the only English side to progress to the quarterfinals this season.

Following the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas, Chelsea have won two consecutive matches against Birmingham and Stoke. However, neither of those wins have been convincing and question marks still linger over the Blues. With Fernando Torres rested against Stoke, Di Matteo is likely to get him back into the starting eleven and the onus will be on the Spaniard to end his goal drought. Napoli are not exactly the most stable side defensively and Chelsea will be looking to attack from the word go. One player who will hold the key for the Blues is Torres’ compatriot Juan Mata. The former Valencia man is blessed with creative genius and much will depend on him if Chelsea are to progress. Frank Lampard too will be crucial and could be a handful for Napoli’s defence with his late runs into the box. Defensively though Chelsea will need to get their act together. John Terry should once again feature alongside Gary Cahill and they will be up against it given Napoli’s potent frontline. Defensive midfielder Michael Essien will also have a critical role to play in this regard as he will have to act as a buffer between his defence and Napoli’s strikeforce. As far as absentees go, Chelsea have just one, with Raul Meireles suspended for the game.

Napoli are in scintillating form having won six consecutive matches and they will come into this game full of confidence. However, they will still be without manager Walter Mazzari, who is suspended, and that might have a bearing on the game. Napoli’s main strength is their exceptional attack. The trio of Edinson Cavani, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Marek Hamsik form one of the most lethal attacking force in Europe and they will cause Chelsea’s defence all sorts of problems. Veteran defender John Terry could be a weak link, given his lack of pace. Lavezzi in particular will be a threat and he will be looking to increase his tally against the Blues, having scored a brace against them last time around. Walter Gargano will marshal the midfield and he will have to watch out for the likes of Frank Lampard and Ramires. Gokhan Inler will as usual be the creative force while the likes of Christian Maggio and Juan Zuniga will provide width. Like Chelsea, Napoli too need to sort themselves out defensively. They looked far from stable in their last match against Chelsea and were perhaps lucky to concede just one goal. They will need to up their game in that respect if they are to secure qualification.

Codec H264, Mkv
Bitrate 1000
Sound 128 kbps
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