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Chelsea gunning for Olympiakos
March 05, 2008 13:52 IST
Chelsea and Olympiakos Piraeus barely mustered a shot on target in the first leg of their Champions League first knockout round tie in Greece last month so Wednesday's return at Stamford Bridge can only get better.
Manager Avram Grant was disappointed with Chelsea's display in their 0-0 draw two weeks ago and things got worse a few days later when his side were beaten by London [Images] rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the League Cup final at Wembley.
Those two results, together with a feeble 0-0 draw at home to Liverpool, had the vultures circling over Grant for the first time since he replaced Jose Mourinho in October.
Media reports of dressing-room disharmony prompted Grant to launch a vigorous attack of his credentials last week and his team clicked back into gear with a 4-0 thrashing of West Ham United on Saturday.
If Grant can unleash the same attacking firepower on Olympiakos the Greek side would struggle to cope, although they travel to London knowing a score draw can take them through.
Joe Cole and Michael Ballack [Images], left out of the team beaten by Spurs, were on target for Chelsea at West Ham and are likely to start on Wednesday.
While Grant considers his options, one player virtually guaranteed a place is captain John Terry.
"The message we sent out [on Saturday] was everything is okay at Chelsea and do not believe everything written and spoken about us in the press," Terry told the club's web site.
"We have had a difficult week but everything is sorted out very quickly at Chelsea. In every club there are things that go on behind the scenes and if they aren't sorted out quickly, they disturb performances."
Grant has gone on record as saying the Champions League, the one trophy to elude Mourinho at Chelsea, is his priority this season although he is still chasing three trophies.
Olympiakos have lost by at least two goals on each of their previous seven visits to England [Images], scoring once and conceding 24 in that dismal run.
Their hopes of sneaking through have been hit by the loss of former Newcastle United and Portsmouth striker Lomana LuaLua who dislocated his shoulder at the weekend in a 1-1 draw with Asteras Tripolis.
LuaLua, who also missed the first leg, will be joined on the sidelines by Argentine winger Luciano Galletti who has a thigh strain. Keeper Antonis Nikopolidis returns after sitting out Saturday's game through suspension.
Chelsea: 1-Petr Cech; 20-Juliano Belletti, 6-Ricardo Carvalho, 26-John Terry (captain), 3-Ashley Cole; 13-Michael Ballack, 5-Michael Essien, 8-Frank Lampard; 10-Joe Cole, 11-Didier Drogba, 21-Salomon Kalou.
Olympiakos: 71-Antonis Nikopolidis; 14-Michal Zewlakow, 5-Julio Cesar, 18-Paraskevas Antzas, 30-Anastasios Pantos; 28-Cristian Ledesma, 35-Vassilis Torosidis, 11-Predrag Djordjevic, 19-Konstantinos Mendrinos, 6-Ieroklis Stoltidis; 9-Darko Kovacevic.
Referee: Manuel Gonzalez (Spain)
UEFA Champions League 2007-08: The Complete Coverage