FC Spartak Moskva's second-half showing two weeks ago has given Valeri Karpin cause for belief while prompting Carlo Ancelotti to warn his Chelsea FC team they need to produce their best.
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Despite running out 2-0 winners in Russia two weeks ago and sitting top of Group F, Carlo Ancelotti is expecting an improvement from his Chelsea FC side as they welcome their nearest challengers in the section, FC Spartak Moskva.
Carlo Ancelotti, Chelsea manager
We are in a good position in both the Champions League and the Premier League, but we have to continue to do our best because when you are at the top everybody wants to beat you. This is normal. [Spartak] played well in the second half of the game two weeks ago. We played too defensively and we want to play a different game tomorrow.
The Champions League is the best competition in the world; it shows better football compared to the World Cup because the teams have more possibilities to prepare the squad. For a club, it is the best competition in the world.
Valeri Karpin, Spartak coach
It's not a decisive match, we still have to play both the other sides in this group. It will be a hard match as we're playing against one of the best teams in the world but I wouldn't say it's decisive. Any results is possible – in the second half against Chelsea [on Matchday 3] we were equal to them. For many of our players, it was the first time they had come up against a team like Chelsea, but we are wiser now and I'm looking forward to the game.
Didier Drogba is one of the best strikers in the world. Of course we are wary of him, as we are of any fantastic player, but we are not going to make special plans. Aiden McGeady has given a lot to this team. He has given a lot out more wide, he can take on defenders and he is dangerous – but he can always do more.
Ancelotti revealed that Florent Malouda (ankle) and José Bosingwa (illness) would miss the Spartak game, while Frank Lampard will not recover from his hernia operation in time. Ramires has been sidelined since 16 October with an ankle problem and Yossi Benayoun is expected to be out of action until April with a torn Achilles tendon. Drogba is line to make his first Group F appearance of the season after being ruled out of the opening three through suspension and illness.
Nikita Bazhenov returned to action late on against FC Rostov at the weekend but Ari (thigh) remains on the sidelines, while Sergei Parshivlyuk (knee) has been ruled out for the rest of the group stage. Kirill Kombarov has been training separately as he recovers from an ankle injury that has kept him out of action since 9 July. Karpin said Alex (thigh) could be in line for a return – he has not played since 15 October.
30/10/10 Blackburn Rovers FC 1-2 Chelsea
(Benjani 21; Anelka 39, Ivanović 84)
For the first time this season Carlo Ancelotti's team came from behind to win, Branislav Ivanović's first goal since 31 October 2009 securing three points at Ewood Park. Chelsea are unbeaten in six matches in all competitions, winning five.
30/10/10 Spartak 2-1 FC Rostov
(Welliton 39, McGeady 90+1pen; Khagush 24)
Marek Suchý and Evgeni Makeev were both suspended as Spartak extended their unbeaten run to eight league outings. Anton Khodyrev, 18, making his competition debut. Karpin's side had not conceded a league goal in 420 minutes before being breached against Rostov.
Did you know?
Chelsea are unbeaten in 21 group stage home games, including 15 wins and six draws with 36 goals scored and only six conceded, since a 2-0 reverse against Beşiktaş JK on 1 October 2003.
For more information see the match background.