Olympique de Marseille and Chelsea FC may have sewn up the qualifying positions in Group F, yet both coaches expect the sell-out Vélodrome crowd to be entertained on Wednesday.
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Didier Deschamps expects a great game in front of a sell-out crowd when his Olympique de Marseille team take on fellow qualifiers Chelsea FC on Wednesday. The Blues are secure in first place, yet know a win would not only boost confidence after a tricky domestic run, but make them only the fifth club to win all six matches in a UEFA Champions League group stage.
Didier Deschamps, Marseille coach
We have a great game to play in front of a full house despite the fact that there is nothing at stake. There will be changes, but no experiments. The players who take to the pitch will be competitive and playing for the win. There's no such thing as a perfect time to meet Chelsea; I don't think you could call them ideal opponents.
Chelsea are going through difficult times, but that happens to every team. Their recent results haven't been positive and I don't think they'll be in the same shape as they were when we met [on 28 September, a 2-0 Chelsea win]. But when you see the quality of their team, I'm not concerned for them and I'm sure Carlo Ancelotti will find the answers.
Carlo Ancelotti, Chelsea manager
Chelsea have difficulties at the moment – we are trying to look for the reasons. Maybe tomorrow will be an opportunity to recover. We want to do well, to play our football and get the result we want. I spoke to my players after the game on Saturday and I hope they react well on the pitch tomorrow.
We give a lot of importance to this game because we want to come back playing our football. Maybe there will be changes but I will wait for tomorrow before making my decision. The result is not important but we need to give a good performance so we will be focused. Both teams will play a good game, like in London.
André-Pierre Gignac did not make the squad as he is not yet over a hamstring injury sustained on 20 November. The match also comes too early for Hilton (thigh), the centre-back who is due to return to training next week after over two months out. César Azpilicueta will have surgery in Barcelona on Thursday after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and could miss the entire season.
John Terry returned from a sciatic nerve problem on Saturday but Frank Lampard remains sidelined following a hernia operation at the end of August. Alex (knee surgery) and Yossi Benayoun (torn Achilles tendon) are long-term absentees while Yuri Zhirkov has been out since mid-November with a calf injury. Nicolas Anelka and Ashley Cole are rested.
05/12/10 OGC Nice 1-0 Marseille
OM's six-game unbeaten run ended in Nice. They have nevertheless won nine of their last 13 matches.
04/12/10 Chelsea 1-1 Everton FC
(Drogba 42pen; Beckford 86)
Drogba scored his first league goal since 3 October but Chelsea's winless league run nevertheless extended to four games. They have taken only five points from the last 18 available.
Did you know?
Didier Drogba had one season with Marseille in 2003/04, and was voted Ligue 1 player of the year. In that season's UEFA Champions League he scored five goals, adding six more as the French side switched to the UEFA Cup and reached the final, losing to Valencia CF. Deschamps said at the pre-match conference: "I like Drogba. He's a world-class forward who had one great season in Marseille where he earned the love and respect of the fans, but tomorrow he will be wearing the colours of our opponents."
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