My Soccer World

Champions League: Chelsea Aim For Fine Vintage In Bordeaux

Posted on: November 26, 2008

Roma’s Philippe Mexes (left) and Chelsea’s Florent Malouda fight for the ball in their Champions League Group A match on Nov 4. Roma play CFR Cluj while Chelsea meet Bordeaux today.

PARIS: Chelsea can wrap up a spot in the knockout phase of the Champions League for a seventh straight season with a win over Bordeaux today (early tomorrow in Malaysia).

But the hosts will go into the match knowing Luis Felipe’s Scolari’s men have been spluttering of late and a win at their compact Chaban-Delmas Stadium will turn Group A on its head.

Bordeaux go into the tie on six points just behind AS Roma on goal difference and a point behind the west Londoners while outsiders CFR Cluj of Romania are also still in the hunt and kick-off at home against the Italians with four points.

In the very likely scenario the group will go down the final match, Chelsea host Cluj while Bordeaux travel to the Italian capital on Dec 9.

A quick look at the respective seasons so far of Chelsea and Bordeaux would explain why Scolari’s expensively assembled side of internationals go into the match as odds-on favourites.
Chelsea have a domestic record of 10 wins, four draws and one defeat with a goal difference of plus 28 as they top the table in England while Bordeaux are currently sixth in France with a modest record of seven wins, four draws and four defeats and a goal difference of plus eight.

However, Bordeaux coach Laurent Blanc can call on his English experience from his time at Manchester United as a foundation and he is also certain to remind his players that Chelsea have already been beaten three times in all competitions this campaign.

The Blues suffered unexpected defeats in the Champions League away to Roma not to mention their spectacular exit in the League Cup when they were ousted by Second Division Burnley.

The third defeat was against bogey side Liverpool who ended their 75 match unbeaten record at Stamford Bridge back on Oct 26.

Both sides are coming off home draws at the weekend when Newcastle held Chelsea to a 0-0 draw in London while Bordeaux’s golden boy Yoann Gourcuff rescued a point at home against Brittany outfit Rennes in a match that finished 1-1.

It was a result that lifted the spirits of Blanc’s men after losing 2-1 in their last outing at champions Lyon.

“Two straight defeats would have been tough before hosting Chelsea and the Rennes result is good for morale,” said Gourcuff, who is on loan from AC Milan.

Chelsea also have to improve on their whipping in Rome if they hope to repeat last season’s achievement of reaching the Champions League final.

“If we are going to perform like that, we are not going to get anywhere near the Champions League final,” admitted captain John Terry in reference to the Rome reverse.

New Straits Times

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