Slimani seeking to give Mourinho’s men the Blues
Chelsea travel to the Portuguese capital, with manager Jose Mourinho no doubt hoping to dent Sporting Lisbon’s Champions League credentials. The Blues are odds-on for victory at 4/6, and must decide whether striker Diego Costa plays a part, with his boss admitting that the Brazilian-born Spanish striker is barely training.
Despite this, he is 3/1 to net the first goal; however, the Portuguese manager may put faith in new summer signing Loic Remy, with the Frenchman at 10/3 to grab the opener.
For Sporting, who are 4/1 for the win, Algerian World Cup star Islam Slimani could be their biggest threat. The striker was relentlessly courting a move away from Portugal in the summer, with offers flooding in from the Bundesliga. However, club president Bruno de Carvalho stood firm, after selling defensive duo Marcos Rojo and Eric Dier to Manchester United and Tottenham respectively.
Chelsea shouldn’t underestimate this Sporting side; something they could rightly of being accused of doing against Schalke in their first group game at Stamford Bridge. In Nani, playing back at his boyhood club, they have someone who is keen to show that United were wrong to let him leave, and defensive midfielder William Carvalho is a talent in the mould of former Chelsea player Claude Makelele, with a hint of Patrick Vieira thrown in.
The two teams have never played each other in Europe’s elite club competition, and it makes for an intriguing match. Nani is expected to work in tandem with Slimani, who has two goals and one assist in three domestic appearances so far this term. The Portugal international is 10/1 to open the scoring, and has two goals against Chelsea in all competitions while playing for United, including a wonder strike from 30 yards.
Brazil pair Oscar and Willian were both on target for the west Londoners in their 3-0 win against Aston Villa last time out, and will be looking to build on that. The former is 11/4 to score anytime, with the latter priced at 5/1.
This game, though, could all be about Slimani with the Algerian looking to make an impact and tempt clubs into making a big offer next summer for the 26-year-old, who is 7/1 for the first goal.