Galatasaray v Chelsea Preview

UEFA Champions League | Wednesday February 26 | Türk Telekom Arena | 21:45





Chelsea travel to Turkey on Wednesday to face Galatasaray in the first leg of the last 16 Champions League knockout stage.

It is a highly anticipated tie with so many threads of interest beneath the surface - Jose Mourinho locking horns with the man he replaced at Inter Milan, Roberto Mancini, and most of all the return of Chelsea legend and idol Didier Drogba.

This match is set to provide both sets of fans with two fast-paced and lively evenings of football.

Both managers are in their first seasons with their respective clubs, albeit Jose Mourinho in his second stint at Chelsea.

A reunion between the manager who brought Didier Drogba to Chelsea seemed destined to happen after Drogba returned from his brief spell playing in China, and it is likely to be an emotionally charged encounter for the two, along with Drogba’s long-term Chelsea teammates, John Terry, Frank Lampard, Petr Cech and Ashley Cole.

To Win (90mins)
Galatasaray 28/10 
Draw 24/10 
Chelsea 19/20

GALATASARAY

Galatasaray have been on a good run lately in the Turkish League, despite lying second on the log and behind Fenerbahce at the time of writing by three points.

In their last six matches in the league they have kept four clean sheets as well as scoring 15 goals.

Although they reached the second group stage in 2000/01 and again the following year, Galatasaray's only previous experience of the round of 16 came last year when they beat Schalke 4-3 on aggregate.

The home leg ended 1-1, Burak Yılmaz opening the scoring. Hamit Altıntop and Burak were on target in the away game, substitute Umut Bulut firing the winner.

This season they finished second in Group B behind Real Madrid with 7 points and a 2-1-3 record.

One problem for them was their difficulty in allowing goals as they finished with a -6 goal difference.

They scored 8 goals in the group with just over one goal per game and an 11% conversion rate.

However, at the other end they conceded 14 goals at a rate of just over two goals per match and a 17% conversion rate. They kept just one clean sheet through the group stage.

Galatasaray have won 3 games out of their last 5 matches played in all competitions with 2 draws.

On the other hand, The Blues have also won 3 games with a single draw & a loss in their last 5 games.

The loss was against Manchester City by 0-2 in FA Cup Competition.

Mancini's side have plenty of European experience. The squad includes Wesley Sneijder, Emmanuel Eboue and of course former Chelsea star Drogba.

Drogba is a hero at Stamford Bridge after seven-seasons in London in which he scored 157 goals, collected three Premier League trophies and scored the winning penalty in a Champions League final.

The Ivory Coast striker is expected to lead the attack at the Türk Telekom Arena and will no doubt cause The Blues back-line all sorts of problems.

Another player who has seen the revival of his career is the world-class playmaker Wesley Sneijder, frozen out at Inter Milan and quickly snapped up by Galatasaray, who like Drogba has become an instant fan-favourite of the Istanbul club.

Both players are world-class talents, able to create game-changing moments of magic, and with the support of tenacious midfielder Felipe Melo and Turkish midfield-general Selçuk İnan, Chelsea face a difficult challenge at the Türk Telekom Arena.

Galatasaray have just one long term injury to Aydin Yilmaz and have three players returning from injury with Hamit Altintop, Oguzhan Kayar, and Aurelien Chedjou.

Galatasaray are unbeaten at home in the league this season, winning nine of their 11 matches.

They have scored around two goals per game at home and conceded less than one so this will be a tough test for Chelsea.

CHELSEA

Chelsea currently sit at the top of the Premier League having played a game more than Manchester City. However, they still lag just behind City as title contenders as far as the bookies are concerned.

It’s certainly going to go down to the wire as the end of season approaches but for now Mourinho needs to concentrate on Europe.

Chelsea finished top of a relatively straightforward Champions League Group E but were surprisingly undone twice by Basel.

The Blues won the other four games, and in total scored twelve goals and conceded just three in the process, a ‘goals against’ tally equalled only Manchester United and Atletico Madrid.

Chelsea have certainly improved since their last group game in the middle of December and their recent FA Cup defeat to Manchester City was the first loss in thirteen games in all competitions.

It didn't take The Blues long to bounce back as they claimed an important victory over Everton last Saturday.

Chelsea average just under two goals per game in all competitions and concede less than one; they were also the last English team to beat Galatasaray on their own patch way back in 1999.

Chelsea will be looking to win a European trophy for the third successive year after capturing the UEFA Champions League in 2012 and the UEFA Europa League in 2013.

Mourinho, who has captured the UEFA Champions League with both FC Porto (2004) and FC Inter Milan(2010), is bidding to become the first manager to win the European Cup with three different teams.

Only Bob Paisley (Liverpool 1977, 1978, 1981) has won the trophy three times as a coach.

With the diminutive Brazilian maestro Oscar and the tireless Willian likely to line-up alongside the ever-impressive Eden Hazard in a three-pronged attacking midfield, Galatasaray face a daunting challenge.

Chelsea have no major injury concerns with David Luiz, John Obi Mikel, and Oscar all probable at this point although the duo of Nemanja Matic and Mohamed Salah are cup-tied having already participated in this campaigns Champions League with their ex-clubs.

Betting Prediction: DRAW 24/10
The home win seems unlikely given Chelsea’s excellent current form but the home team should be strong enough to earn a draw at around 24/10. Both teams to score is more likely at 19/20.

Written by Chadley Nagel for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now! 

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