Chelsea will look extremely familiar to Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho for more reasons than one when the pair meet at the San Siro on Wednesday in their Champions League last 16 first-leg clash.
Mourinho won two Premier League titles as manager of the London club while the two sides are very similar in style.
The determination the Portuguese installed at Chelsea before leaving in 2007 is also in plentiful supply at Inter, as shown by Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Sampdoria where the Serie A leaders had two sent off in the first half but had the better chances.
Chelsea were also under pressure at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday but still dug in for a 2-0 victory to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League to four points.
The playing staffs have various similarities too.
Chelsea’s Petr Cech and Inter’s Julio Cesar, set to be fit after a minor car crash, are among the world’s best goalkeepers.
Both defences are top-class although left back is a problem with Cristian Chivu and Davide Santon injured for Inter while Chelsea’s Ashley Cole misses out and Yury Zhirkov is a doubt.
Midfielder Javier Zanetti will fill in for the Italians with fellow right-footer Paulo Ferreira poised for the visitors.
“For the characteristics of our opponent, their physical nature and intensity of their play, I would really need Zanetti in midfield,” Mourinho, banned for three Serie A games for his outspoken behaviour, said.
“If Santon isn’t there and Zanetti plays at left back, already the team is different to the one I had in mind.”
Lampard declared fit for inter clash
Frank Lampard has been given the green light to play in Chelsea’s Champions League clash with Inter Milan on Wednesday after recovering from the virus that forced him to sit out the weekend win over Wolves.
CSKA hope to freeze out Sevilla
CSKA Moscow must overcome a prolonged winter break and the possible loss of playmaker Alan Dzagoyev when they host Sevilla in the Champions League first knockout round on Wednesday.
The Russians said the first leg would go ahead as scheduled despite the fact a huge storm hit Moscow this week, dropping more than half a metre of snow on the capital over the last few days.
Full back Vasily Berezutsky was taking nothing for granted, “It would be a big mistake to think the Spaniards would just fall over on the slippery surface and give us a clean path to their goal,” Berezutsky was quoted as saying by local media.
Sevilla go into the match on something of a high after they became the first team to come away from Real Mallorca’s Ono Estadi with any points this season thanks to Saturday’s 3-1 victory in La Liga that cemented their hold on fourth.
Coach Manolo Jimenez will be without striker Luis Fabiano and winger Diego Capel, who are both injured, for the trip to Moscow, but Frederic Kanoute is available after the Mali forward shook off a muscle injury that sidelined him.
On the tube:
1.10am: Inter Milan vs Chelsea (Ten Sports);
CSKA vs Sevilla (Zee Sports)