Chelsea departed for Lisbon on Monday, ahead of Tuesday night's Champions League clash with Sporting Lisbon. It's been a rough start to the domestic season for Sporting, and having drawn their opening Champions League fixture that they were expected to win fairly comfortably, they'll likely feel they need at least a point against the most dangerous side in the group.
Chelsea also disappointed in their Champions League opener, drawing against Schalke at home in a game they controlled for the majority of the match. This likely puts the Blues in a situation where they're expecting to take maximum points from this tie, and the lineup we'll see from Jose Mourinho will probably reflect that.
Sporting have been fairly sound defensively to start the 2014/15 campaign, but are really struggling to find the back of the net with any consistency. Given that fact and the attacking talent available for Mourinho, I'd be fairly surprised to see Sporting play anything but conservatively, looking to defend first and catch the Blues on the break if the opportunity presents itself. That's exactly the sort of game Chelsea struggled with last year, so it will be an interesting barometer of how far we've come.
Opponent: Sporting Lisbon
Date/Time: Tuesday, September 30. 2014 at 20:00 local time
Venue: Estádio José Alvalade, Lisbon, Portugal
Chelsea squad news: No Didier Drogba, no Ramires for this one. Diego Costa might be rested, assuming he's not yet deemed fit enough to start three matches in a week. This likely means we'll see a very attack-minded lineup with Loic Remy spearheading the group.
*Since writing this, Mourinho has confirmed that Costa will, indeed, start this one.
Chelsea predicted XI: Thibaut Courtois, Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill, John Terry, Filipe Luis, Nemanja Matic, Cesc Fabregas, Eden Hazard, Oscar, Andre Schurrle, Diego Costa
Sporting squad news: Rami Rabia is not expected to play, and has not yet featured for the club since joining. Other than that, it appears to be all hands on deck.
Sporting predicted XI: Rui Patrício, Cédric Soares, Maurício, Naby Sarr, Jonathan Silva, João Mário, William Carvalho, Adrien Silva, Andre Carrillo, Islam Slimani, Nani
Television and streaming: In the UK, this one can be found on Sky Sports 5 HD and Sky Go. In the US, it will be on FS@, while being streamed on FoxSoccer2Go, Fox Sports Go, and ESPN3. Indian fans can find this one on Ten HD and Ten sports live. Everyone else can just check their listings here.