Monday, 31 October 2011

UCL: Genk v Chelsea preview

Genk are the unfortunate side that have to face Chelsea in their first outing since the horror show against Arsenal. Andre Villas-Boas’ team lost to the Gunners in a sensational Saturday lunchtime London showdown and is said to have torn into his players in the aftermath of that encounter. That could inspire them into handing Belgium’s Genk a second hiding in the space of 13 days. The Blues were 5-0 winners over Tuesday’s hosts when they met at Stamford Bridge, and in truth they could have had several more on a night when class told more than most. A win over the Belgians at the Cristal Arena may not erase the memory of Saturday’s disaster, but it would at least put the Blues on the brink of the Champions League’s last 16. And indeed it might even be enough to seal progression, depending on how the other Group E encounter between Valencia and Bayer Leverkusen goes in Spain.

The Belgian champions, with just one point no goals, will see any slim hope of qualification evaporate unless they spring a huge upset against the admittedly out-of-form Blues. Mario Been’s men remain without defender Jeroen Simaeys (broken toe) and midfielder and captain David Hubert (stomach), while defender Anele Ngongca (illness) and forward Marvin Ogunjimi (back) sat out the nine-goal thriller against Brugges. Also, Abel Masuero suffered a calf knock in training last week and fellow defender Torben Joneleit will be out until the New Year with a torn cruciate ligament.

Fernando Torres bagged two goals in the side’s last meeting, and he will expect to keep his place in the search for more. Nicolas Anelka has also travelled after missing the humbling against his first English club with a knock. Elsewhere, Raul Meireles – also a scorer in Chelsea’s home game against Genk – should deputise for Ramires, but Michael Essien remains a notable midfield absentee. Didier Drogba, however, had screws removed from the arm broken before the World Cup, and will miss the game.

Facts and stats
Chelsea have won the last four European meetings with Belgian teams, conceding no goals at all in those games. In Belgium, however, the Blues’ record is negative (one win, two losses)

Chelsea‘s 5-0 win in the first leg was the Blues‘ biggest margin of victory in their CL history (they also beat Galatasaray 5-0 in October 1999)

Only Barcelona (nine times) have scored more goals than Chelsea (eight), and only Real Madrid (0) have conceded fewer goals than the Londoners (1)

Genk have won none of their last 13 games in European competitions (excluding qualifiers) – they have only managed six draws and have lost seven

Just like 2002/03, when they had qualified for the CL for the first time, the Belgian outfit have failed to score in their first three group games

Genk have won none of their nine CL games so far, although they did manage five draws.

Four of the last six CL games involving Genk have been draws

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