Maccabi Tel-Aviv - Chelsea Preview: Blues head into penultimate group game with qualification on their minds
Diego Costa in Champions League action image source: The Independent

Chelsea will be looking to carry on their winning momentum on Tuesday night when they face a tough trip Maccabi Tel-Aviv in the Champions League group stages.

Back on track?

It has been a terrible start to the season for Jose Mourinho's side but they seem to be heading in the right direction, as they secured their first win in four league matches at the weekend with a narrow 1-0 victory over newly-promoted Norwich City.

That victory has still left them in 15th position, which leaves them trailing 12 points behind fourth-placed Arsenal, leading to Mourinho stating that retaining the Premier League would be an "impossible mission" but achieving European qualification is still a realisitc achievement.

Flying high

In terms of this years competition, it looks like the Blues are set to head into the next round currently sitting second in Group G and Tuesday's game is the perfect chance to get there - as if they manage to beat the Israeli side and Porto manage to beat Dynamo Kiev Mourinho's side would progress into the last 16.

The Portugese boss will be hoping for much of the same as in the reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge back in September, as goals from Willian, Oscar, Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas gave them a comfortable 4-0 victory.

Fabregas celebrates scoring the fourth at Stamford Bridge (photo: kevin quigley)
Fabregas celebrates scoring the fourth at Stamford Bridge (photo: kevin quigley)

Play for pride

Tel-Aviv will be playing their final two group matches to recollect some of their pride as they have no possiblity of making it beyond the group stages as they currently sit bottom of Group G with zero points to their name.

It certainly hasn't been a happy return to the group stages for the first time in eleven years as they are the only team in Europe's elite competiton that haven't collected a point so far.

Trouble brewing

Tel-Aviv will just be glad that they get the opportunity to play the Premier League champions at their own ground, with the trouble going on in Gaza involving a missile being fired towards Haifa, which is just 75 miles away from the ground.

Like their visitiors, Tel-Aviv come into this contest with some good league form as they managed a routine 3-0 victory over fierce rivals Hapoel Haifa which pushed them back to the summit of the Israelian Premier League.

Team news

Mourinho has no fresh injur concerns heading to Israel but will be without the services of striker Radamel Falcao as the Monaco loanee recovers from a musuclar injury while no 1 keeper Thibaut Cortouis remains absent as he recovers from a knee injury.

Eran Zahavi is expected to lead the line for Tel-Aviv after scoring his 100th club goal at the weekend while Tal Ben Haim who spent a year at Stamford Bridge between 2007 and 2008 could make a start at the back.

Maccabi Tel-Aviv will host Chelsea at the Sammy Ofer Stadium on Tuesday, November 24 with kick-off at 7:45PM BST.

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