With an away goal to their credit, Chelsea are firm favourites to go through when they host Galatasaray at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday in the second leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie (19:45 GMT, live on ITV).
Chelsea started on the front foot in Istanbul, going ahead inside the opening 10 minutes, but Galatasaray rallied after the break, equalised just past the hour mark and created a couple of other good opportunities thereafter.
The tie remains well poised for a second leg that Chelsea come into on the back of a fractious defeat to Aston Villa that saw Ramires and Willian red carded and Jose Mourinho sent to the stands. Despite that result, they still head the Premier League table with 66 points from 20 wins, six draws and four defeats.
Chelsea progressed to the round of 16 by winning Group E with four wins and two defeats, their most impressive performances coming in commanding home and away victories over Schalke. They will be confident of making it into the last eight and with two-time Champions League winner Mourinho in their dugout, ranked as solid outsiders to win the trophy – see Champions League betting odds here.
The loss to Villa exposed some of Chelsea’s limitations, as they largely controlled the match yet failed to create a good number of high-quality chances. Eden Hazard (pictured), Oscar and Willian were bright and inventive, but with Fernando Torres ineffective ahead of them Chelsea lacked a cutting edge. They remain a team that is most effective on the counter attack.
With goals occasionally hard to come by, Chelsea have leaned on the solidity of a defence whose average of 0.77 goals conceded per match is by far the best in the league. Since Christmas, Mourinho has regularly employed a dedicated holder in front of the back four, leading to his side conceding just eight times in their last 18 matches in all competitions.
Marco Van Ginkel (knee) is Chelsea’s only confirmed injury absentee for this game, but Ashley Cole (knee) and David Luiz (groin) have both missed the club’s last two league matches and are considered doubtful. January signings Mohamed Salah and Nemanja Matic are cup-tied.
Galatasaray come into the second leg having lost just one of their last 23 matches in all competitions. A high number of draws does, however, see them trail Super Lig leaders Fenerbache by two points, with 49 from 13 wins, 10 draws and two defeats.
The reigning Turkish champions progressed to the last 16 by defeating Juventus on the final match day of Group B, a result that saw them leapfrog the Italians into second in the group with seven points from two wins, one draw and three defeats. They reached the quarter finals last season and will retain hope of again reaching the last eight.
The 0-0 draw away to Karabukspor on Friday continued Galatasaray’s poor away form that has seen them win two, draw seven and lose four of their last 13 matches on their travels in all competitions. They are undefeated at home since Roberto Mancini replaced Fatih Terim in late September, but have struggled to replicate that form away from the Turk Telecom Arena.
They do, though, remain a potentially dangerous side, with former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba and Dutch international midfielder Wesley Sneijder, a key component of Mourinho’s Champions League-winning Inter Milan side, flanked by an array of Turkish internationals including prolific striker Burak Yilmaz and strong midfielder Selcuk Inan.
Mancini will be without the injured Eray Iscan (finger), Emre Colak (knee) and Aydin Yilmaz (foot) for Tuesday’s match.
Chelsea v Galatasaray Betting Tips
Chelsea are undefeated in three previous meetings with Galatasaray, having won home and away when they met in the group stage in 1999. Prior to the first leg, Galatasaray had won two, drawn two and lost two in their last six Champions League matches against English clubs, while Chelsea had won four and lost two in their last six against Turkish opposition.
Chelsea come into the second leg in a strong position, knowing that they will progress to the quarter finals if they are able to prevent their visitors from scoring. They are strong in defence and precise on the counter-attack, a combination that seems tailor made for the task at hand.
Galatasaray have some quality players and will certainly give their all, but we believe Chelsea are capable of doing what is required to secure passage to the last eight.
- Back Chelsea to win to nil @ best odds of 5/4 with Coral.
- Hazard has been Chelsea’s standout player this season and leads the club in league goals and assists. He is most effective on the counter attack and space is likely to open up for him as Galatasaray drive forward in search of a goal. Back Eden Hazard to score at anytime @ best odds of 7/4 with Betfred.