The final pair of first leg Champions League last 16 stage matches play this Wednesday night and while the Schalke v Real Madrid game promises plenty of action, I am drawn to the Galatasaray v Chelsea match as it sees the meeting of Chelsea legend Didier Drogba and the side that he captured Champions League glory with in his final game for the side. Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho was quoted as saying that he would love to be drawn against Galatasaray at this stage of the competition so that the Chelsea fans can show their appreciation for their former player at Stamford Bridge. If he can fire the Turkish side into a comfortable lead, what kind of reception will the Chelsea faithful provide him with in three weeks time?
Galatasaray – 3.85
Draw – 3.15
Chelsea – 1.98
(All odds provided by GR88.com are accurate as of today and subject to change)
Despite finishing their Champions League group with a goal difference of -6, mainly thanks to the 6-1 home drubbing and 4-1 away beating by Real Madrid, Galatasaray managed to get one over on Juventus in a re-arranged due to snowfall match to snatch the final place on what was a terrible pitch to play football. Either way, despite winning just two and drawing one of their six group stage matches the Turkish side, who have star players Emmanuel Eboué and Wesley Sneijder in a star studded lineup with Drogba, are into the last 16 of the Champions League and they bring a fine home record into the match. They are unbeaten in 16 on home soil, winning 15 and drawing one, and they have not conceded in six home matches so they will be certainly be confident, but will their star performers be up for the task of being able to beat a Jose Mourinho led Chelsea side?
Mourinho has already won the Champions League on two occasions with Porto in 2004 and Inter Milan in 2010 and he is one of the best tactical managers currently plying his trade in Europe so he will fancy his chances at lifting the European Cup for a third time this season. He has already won six titles with Chelsea from his first time in charge and he has led them back to the top of the Premier League this season, so he and his charges will not be lacking in confidence (not that the Portuguese manager ever is!) for this game in Turkey. He was complaining this week about not having a striker fit for his side but ever the master tactician Mourinho will surely find a way for his side to score goals in this Champions League clash.
I feel that the odds on this match are correct in that it’ll be a tight game between these two sides, mainly thanks to the hosts having a fine defensive record on home soil and being sure to defend first and attack second in this first leg match. Chelsea will have difficulty in breaking them down, but, just like their odds suggest, they will grab a goal or two and they’ll take the advantage back to West London and Stamford Bridge.
Back Chelsea to beat Galatasaray in their Champions League Last 16 stage first leg match @ 1.98 with GR88.com.