Monday 19 March 2018

Marseille v Chelsea key battles

Didier Drogba. Photo: Getty Images
Didier Drogba. Photo: Getty Images

Didier Drogba v Steve Mandanda

Chelsea striker Didier Drogba returns to his former club hoping to raise his goal tally in the Champions League against Marseille 'keeper Steve Mandanda.

The Chelsea striker is back in fine form after a recent bout of malaria and scored from the penalty spot in their 1-1 home draw with Everton Saturday. But he has just one goal to his name this season in Europe after missing the opening two games through suspension.

Mandanda has been an ever-present for Marseille in the Champions League this season and the France international will be hoping to stop Drogba from crowning his return to the Stade Velodrome by keeping another clean sheet.

The 25-year-old captain was only beaten twice at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea recorded a comfortable win. A highly regarded 'keeper, he will require all his judgement and skill if he is to stop Drogba from making a glorious return.

John Terry v Brandao

This should be an interesting battle with England's fit-again Terry up against Marseille's Brazilian striker Brandao.

Brandao is quick off the mark and capable of great skill with the ball at his feet. He scored his first goal in the Champions League this term during Marseille's 3-0 victory over Spartak Moscow last time out.

Terry will need all his experience and international quality to cope with the 30-year-old.

The striker has been likened to Ronaldinho. He does not have the same first touch as the Brazilian ace but could well cause Chelsea to suffer another upset unless Terry can muster all his defensive capabilities to repel his trickery and guile.

Michael Essien v Lucho Gonzalez

The hardworking Lucho Gonzalez, known as the 'Commander', will battle it out for midfield supremacy against Michael Essien.

This will be another difficult contest for Essien as Gonzalez is an inspirational midfielder who can play in a variety of positions. He is mainly known as a central midfielder and will meet Essien head on - the 'Train' versus the 'Commander' in the Stade Velodrome.

Gonzalez possesses a crisp, fierce shot allied to some superb passing skills and a hardworking ethic that matches Essien's all-action game.

The former Porto midfielder is an Argentine international and the 29-year-old will give Essien another tough examination even though the game has nothing but pride riding on it.

Press Association

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