Galatasaray vs. Chelsea: Prediction, Preview, Live Stream and TV Info

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Galatasaray vs. Chelsea: Prediction, Preview, Live Stream and TV Info
Lefteris Pitarakis/Associated Press

The Champions League round of 16 returns this week, with Galatasaray and Chelsea being two of the eight clubs ready to duel for European progress.

These two teams have only met on two previous occasions, Chelsea boasting a 6-0 aggregate triumph from the two-legged affair during the 1999-2000 Champions League campaign, per the official UEFA website.

The Blues head to Istanbul seeking a similar end result almost 15 years later, with all the essential viewing information and preview detailed ahead.

 

When: Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 7:45 p.m. GMT (2:45 p.m. ET)

Where: Turk Telekom Arena, Istanbul

Watch: Sky Sports 1 / Sky Go

 

Key Storylines

The biggest talking point since it was discovered that Chelsea would be facing the Turkish Super Lig champions in this round has been that of Didier Drogba's encounter with his former club, and the reunion he is set to have with Jose Mourinho.

Paul White/Associated Press

Per the official Chelsea website, Drogba made 341 appearances for the West Londoners over the course of an eight-year spell, scoring 157 goals in the process and averaging just under a goal every other game.

His very last kick in a Chelsea shirt won the Blues their first European Cup, guaranteeing he goes down in their history as arguably their greatest player.

Now, the Ivorian will line up on the other side of the pitch, in the hope that his Gala team might be able to book themselves a place in the competition's quarterfinals, albeit at the sacrifice of the Blues' hopes.

To add a little extra spice to the occasion, Drogba has insisted that if Mourinho asked him, he'd consider a return to the Premier League outfit, too, per ESPN:

I had a great time at Chelsea. I was there eight years and if Jose Mourinho said 'I want you to come back' I'd think about it. But there has been no approach from the club, so there is no need to speak about it. It is just rumours.

I don't know. If it could happen, it would only be with one team. I could not play for anyone else in England.

According to Goal.com's Jay Jaffa, Oscar, David Luiz and John Obi Mikel have all been included in the squad that's travelled to Turkey, having each missed last weekend's 1-0 win over Everton.

The comeback of Luiz and Mikel is especially well-timed considering Nemanja Matic won't be available to anchor the Blues' engine room, the January arrival from Benfica being cup-tied in Europe.

 

Prediction

Clive Rose/Getty Images

Chelsea's last trip to Istanbul may have resulted in a 5-0 result for the visitors, but the context of this fixture has changed tremendously in the 14 years since.

Roberto Mancini's side have scored an average of 2.18 goals per home game this league season and sit second in the table, four points behind leaders Fenerbahce. They face a similar title jostle to that of the one Chelsea are currently going through in England.

Former Premier League goal scorer Michael Owen doesn't see Chelsea having an issue with their two-legged affair against the Turkish giants:

In a way, the meeting represents a clash between two teams boasting something that their opponent sorely desires.

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Chelsea come up against a side with tremendous attacking potency in the shapes of Drogba and Burak Yilmaz while lacking a reliable scoring presence of their own. Gala, meanwhile, will be jealous of the defensive security Mourinho has in the likes of John Terry, Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic this term.

That being said, it is worth mentioning that Mancini's is statistically the best defence in Turkey this season, but the impending Premier League assault will pose a different task altogether.

As a result, it's the midfield that will likely decide the first leg, and it all comes down to whether Mourinho would be content with nicking a result, or whether he's hoping to make a statement at the first time of asking.

Galatasaray's floodgates may not be quite up to the task of restraining a creative line consisting of Oscar, Eden Hazard and Willian in full, fluid flow. An early goal for the visitors should set up a comfortable night.

Galatasaray 1-2 Chelsea

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