Chelsea vs. Shakhtar Donetsk: Complete Preview, Team News, Projected Lineups

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Chelsea vs. Shakhtar Donetsk: Complete Preview, Team News, Projected Lineups
Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Chelsea were on the receiving end of a shock when they traveled to Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk's home stadium a fortnight ago when they were sent packing back to London 2-1 losers. However, with the return leg ready to be staged at Stamford Bridge, the Blues are the favored side despite any results of the last two weeks.

The Blues will look to have their strongest side possible to face the visiting eastern European side, but according to, veteran left back Ashley Cole will be ruled out of the side with Ryan Bertrand expected to deputize in his place.

Ramires and John Obi Mikel are expected to be the central two with Juan Mata looking to return to play the key supporting role behind Fernando Torres after recovering from a slight knock that had seen him miss the weekend clash with Swansea City.

Chelsea may be the hopeful winners as the hosts, but it cannot be forgotten that Shakhtar beat Chelsea 2-1 at the Donbass Arena, and they will be looking to replicate that performance this Wednesday. The Miners have a number of talented players, including a highly touted Brazilian contingent, as well as Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who has burst onto the scene with his superb play thus far.

The Blues will have to play up to their full potential to assure that they take the three points and reassert their title as defending European Champions.

Last match, the goal scorers from Shakhtar were man of the match Fernandinho and Alex Teixeira. Each of them will look to once again assert their presence on the match with as much aplomb as they did at Donbass Arena two weeks ago.

This match for Chelsea is potentially the biggest of the group. If they emerge victorious there is a good chance they will make the knockout stages. However, if they fail to take full points, they risk a tough trip to Juventus as the deciding factor for their European hopes. Juventus are sure to be on a tear the next few weeks after the frustration of losing to Inter Milan over the weekend.

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Key Players to Watch

Chelsea: Fernando Torres and Juan Mata

Shakhtar: Willian and Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Projected Lineups

Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Bertrand; Mikel Obi, Ramires; Oscar, Mata, Hazard; Torres.

Shakhtar: Pyatov; Kucher, Rat, Rakytskyy, Hubschmann; Srna; Fernandinho, Willian, Mkhitaryan, Teixeira; Adriano.

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