Chelsea – Reading
Starting with a win in the league, European Champions Chelsea will be in search for another 3 points when they play against the newly promoted site Reading at Stamford Bridge. After a 2-0 win with two early strike from Ivanovic and Lampard on penalty, Chelsea were able to find a clean sheet to gain some confidence in the pursuit.
With new Signing Hazard quickly adapting to the Premier league and Oscar starting from a Bench, RDM is probable to start with similar line up as Ramires still is out due to injury. While for the newly promoted side, Jason Roberts will be out serving his last match of ban and midfielder Jimmy Kebe probable to miss some starting fixtures of the league.
Chelsea out: Marko Marin
Reading out: Jason Roberts, Jimmy Kebe, Jem Karacan
SPORTING BRAGA VS UDINESE PREVIEW
The 2010/2011 Europa League semi-finalists face an uphill task in their attempt to reach Champions Leaguegroup stages, with Serie A giants Udinese on the other side.
Sporting Braga have really raised the club’s profile over the last decade, having not only closed the gap behind Porto, Benfica and Sporting on domestic level, but also showed a lot of promise in European competitions.
The Minhotos did well to beat very good Sporting Lisbon side to the final Champions League berth, but were very unfortunate to be drawn alongside Udinese in the play-offs.
The club have stayed without important players Ewerton, Ukra and Miguel Lopesin the summer, while signing a number of unproven players from smaller Primeira Liga clubs.
Even so, Braga impressed at the start of the league campaign, having held Benfica to a 2-2 draw at Estadio da Luz..
Boss Jose Peseiro faces some selection problems before the clash against Zebrette, with Paulo Cesar, Yazalde, Eder and Maximilian Haas all sidelined through injury.
Probable starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Beto – Leandro, Douglao, Paulo Vinicius, Ismaily – Custodio, Amorim – Alan, Viana, Mossoro – Lima.
Despite selling their key players season after season, Udinese somehow manage to remain in contention for a top 3 finish and they have got to be congratulated for piping Lazio, Napoli, Inter and Roma to the 3rd place in Serie A last term.
Once again, the club chiefs decided to cash in on their star players, as a result of which Samir Handanovic, Kwadwo Asamoah and Mauricio Isla have left the club, while their players were taken by completely unknown players, who, I am sure, will be worth just as much money in a few years’ time.
The Friulani’s 4-0 victory over Southampton in the final warm-up game proved that their fans have reason for optimism before the clash with Braga
Having been very unfortunate to be eliminated by Arsenal at this stage last term, the Zebrette will give their best to avoid a similar scenario.
Star striker Luis Muriel misses out with a muscle strain, while Joel Ekstrand doesn’t travel with the squad as he lacks match fitness.
Probable starting line-up (3-5-1-1): Brkic -Benatia, Danilo, Domizzi – Basta, Pinzi, Willians, Pereyra, Armero – Maicosuel – Di Natale.
MALAGA VS PANATHINAIKOS PREVIEW
Cash-strapped Malaga are in a position tofight for their lives and no wonder they desperately need to reach Champions League group stages.
Panathinaikos may be in much better financial position than their opponents, but that doesn’t mean the Greeks will not be just as motivated to win this tie.
Boosted by the heavy summer spending, los Boquerones achieved their goal and finished the La Liga campaign in 4th place, but little did they know that they would soon find themselves in huge problems.
After the owners lost interest in club, key players Santo Cazorla, Joris Mathijsen, Salomon Rondon and Apono decided to leave, while few other high-profile players expressed their desire to abandon the sinking ship.
As a result, Malaga were completely outclassed by newly promoted Celta in their opening La Liga game, but they somehow managed to record a valuable win thanks to 16-year-old Fabrice Olinga, who had been extended his Visa just few days before the game.
Los Boquerones now face a tough task against experienced Panathinaikos side..
With no fresh injury worries to report, boss Manuel Pellegrini is likely to stick to the side that beat Celta at the weekend.
Probable starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Caballero – Gamez, Demichelis, Weligton, Monreal – Toulalan, Camacho – Joaquin, Isco, Portillo – Fernandez.
Panathinaikos were very fortunate to be drawn alongside Motherwell, a team that replaced Rangers, in the third qualifying round, so nobody was surprised to see the Greeks record a 5-0 aggregate win over the Scottish side.
PAO can have no complaints on the play-off draw either having been pitted against out of sorts Malaga that have stayed without several very important players this summer.
It really appears that Lady Luck has been smiling on the Greek side this summer, and with that in mind..
It is important to point out that Panathinaikos are now coached by Jesualdo Ferreira, a man who was sacked by Malaga not long ago, and he will now have an extra motive to do well against his former side.
The squad have seen some changes this summer, with Quincy, Fornaroli, Sissoko, Velazquez and Sow arriving to the side, and Ninis, Plessis, Cleyton and Kante leaving the club.
As far as the Malaga game is concerned, key midfielder Sebastian Leto is unavailable, as are new signings Quincy and Pape Sow.
Probable starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Karnezis – Vyntra, Velazquez, Boumsong, Spyropoulos – Katsouranis, Vitolo – Zeca, Christodoulos, Sissoko – Toche.
Dinamo Zagreb v NK Maribor
Dinamo without: Ivan Tomecak, Ivan Krstanovic, Mateo Kovacic
Maribor without: Mitja Viler
probably line ups:
Dinamo: Ivan Kelava, Josip Pivaric, Domagoj Vida, Tonel, Josip Simunic, Milan Badelj, Arijan Ademi, Jerko Leko, Sammir, Mehmed Alispahic, Fatos Beqiraj
Maribor: Jasmin Handanovic, Nejc Potokar, Alexander Rajcevic, Arghus, Ales Mejac, Dejan Mezga, Goran Cvijanovic, Ales Mertelj, Agim Ibraimi, Robert Beric, Marcos Tavares
Stuttgart – Dinamo Moscow
Stuttgart out: Johan Audel, Zdravko Kuzmanovic, Gotaku Sakai
Stuttgart 11: Sven Ulreich, Tim Hoogland, Serdar Tasci, Georg Niedermeier, Arthur Boka, William Kvist, Christian Gentner, Tamas Hajnal, Ibrahima Traore, Martin Harnik, Vedad Ibisevic
Dinamo M doubtful: Luke Wilkshire
Dinamo M 11: Anton Shunin, Igor Shitov, Gordon Schildenfeld, Leandro Fernandez, Marko Lomic, Balazs Dzsudzsak, Artur Yusupov, Igor Semshov, Christian Noboah, Zvjezdan Misimovic, Kevin Kuranyi
Blackburn Rovers – Hull City
Blackburn boss Steve Kean will have Ruben Rochina at his disposal again for the visit of Hull.
The striker missed the 1-1 draw at Ipswich on the opening day because of a hamstring injury.
It was thought the clash with the Tigers may be too soon for him too, but the Spaniard has recovered in time to give Kean a boost.
Captain Danny Murphy will also be available despite complaining of tightness in his calf earlier in the week.
Full-back Martin Olsson is yet to return to training from his groin injury so the Sweden international misses out, as does back-up goalkeeper Mark Bunn, who is sidelined following a hip operation.
Midfielder Steven Nzonzi will again be left out in the cold after declaring his desire to leave while summer signing Leon Best is a long-term absentee with a knee injury.
Hull manager Steve Bruce has hinted he will shuffle his pack to cope with the physical presence of Blackburn at Ewood Park.
The Tigers boss enjoyed a winning start in his first npower Championship match in charge, as they beat Brighton 1-0 thanks to a goal from substitute Jay Simpson.
The performance of Simpson and the other replacements, coupled with a lack of match-fitness for a number of his players, has given Bruce food for thought ahead of their clash with Rovers.
Forward Matty Fryatt (Achilles) remains Hull’s only injury absentee, but Corry Evans, Paul McShane and Alex Bruce will be hoping to force their way into the manager’s thoughts.
“In terms of Wednesday, I think we will need to change slightly in terms of personnel,” Bruce told Hull’s official website.
“Going to Blackburn on a Wednesday night, we need to be physically ready for the challenge that they’re going to throw at us.”