Chelsea vs Maribor PreviewJake Cooper | 12 Oct 2016
Chelsea are riding high in the Premier League as they continue their unbeaten streak and head into their Champions League clash against Maribor as firm favourites. Can the Slovenians give them a run for their money? We take a look at the teams ahead of Tuesday’s game.
The Blues are currently topping their Champions League group with a win and a draw, while Maribor are in second position on the table having drawn both of their games so far.
Chelsea’s star striker Diego Costa was unable to play against Crystal Palace at the weekend due to an ongoing hamstring injury but the side still managed to take the three points on offer without him. Jose Mourinho feels confident that the team can continue to win without the Premier League’s top goal scorer and his confidence in his charges will be tested this Tuesday.
Mourinho has hit out at Spain’s treatment of Costa while on international duty and blames the international break and Spain’s handling of the player for his injury.
“You are not happy when you give players in good condition and you receive the players in bad condition,” said the Chelsea boss.
“It’s simple,” he continued. “He’s not training because he’s not in condition to do it. Tomorrow he cannot play. Let’s see what happens for next weekend but next weekend is not important. I don’t have Manchester United [on Sunday in the Premier League] in mind. I have Maribor in mind.”
With Costa sidelined, Mourinho will be looking to start either Loic Remy or Didier Drogba at the front.
Although Chelsea are on paper a much better team than Maribor, the Slovenian side’s two draws have proven they’ll put up a good fight in tomorrow’s game.
“For Tuesday, I cannot make lots of changes because I cannot break the balance of the team,” he told the press this week. “I can change a couple. I don’t think I am going to recover any player – I do not think Ramires will be available.
“Andre Schurrle won’t be available, Diego Costa for sure is not available. So I don’t have a lot to change but I’m going to make a couple of changes. It is a very important match to win; to finish the first three matches with seven points is a very important situation for us.”
Maribor have slipped in the Slovenian league in recent weeks having won just one of their last four matches and a home loss at the weekend will mean they approach Tuesday’s fixture in poor form.