December 13,2014 Saturday, 23:00
14/1 Hull City Odds to win
13/2 Draw Odds
Chelsea completed the Champions League group stage on Wednesday night as leading scorers in the competition with 17 goals, one more than the feted Real Madrid. The credit is widely shared as no Blues player netted more than two. Nemanja Matic also made the most tackles in the competition 38. Now domestic football takes the stage and the Premier League leaders entertain 18th-placed Hull City. In the bottom three they may be, but the Tigers have achieved draws at Newcastle, Arsenal, Liverpool and Everton this season. Yet they have never won a league match at Stamford Bridge and only Leicester have worse form over the last eight league matches. Jose Mourinho will be determined to return to league winning ways after last week’s setback at Newcastle. He eschews personal records, but some are unavoidable. The Portuguese’s instant impact in two spells in England’s top flight is remarkable, unprecedented and on-target to reach a landmark. Jose Mourinho is one win away from becoming the quickest Premier League manager to reach 400 points. Tomorrow is his 174th game. The fastest to attain 400 Premier League points is Alex Ferguson, who did so after 191 games. Arsene Wenger took 208 and Rafael Benitez 209. Ruben Loftus-Cheek made his debut in the 3-1 midweek win against Sporting Lisbon. The powerful young midfielder displayed some bright touches in his cameo, set up a shooting chance for fellow sub Loic Remy and was fouled when about to break through himself. The 18-year-old became the fifth Academy player to make his first team debut in 2014. Lewis Baker, John Swift, Dominic Solanke and Andreas Christensen were the others. Once again Chelsea were the only group winners from England, joining Atletico, Real Madrid, Monaco, Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Porto as a top seed in the Round of 16 and playing the second leg at home. The draw is on Monday. Only one non-group winner has made it to the semi-finals in the last four seasons: Real Madrid in 2012/13. It feels a little like the end of term now that the UEFA competitions go into hibernation for three months. Yet Chelsea are about to enter a period of the season that is always a severe examination. There are six fixtures from now until New Year’s Day at Tottenham, with the Capital One Cup resuming at Derby on Tuesday before the congested festive league programme, a drain on the playing resources of any club. Before we know it the FA Cup will also be upon us. The draw served up another tie with Watford, the sixth in 45 years, and a possible lucky omen. The Blues won four of the previous five against the Hornets and went on to lift the trophy in three of those seasons. Over the weekend Chelsea’s U12s are taking part in the Christmas Truce International Tournament in Ypres, Belgium, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the brief truce that took place at Christmas 1914 during World War One. Chelsea FC sent 50 footballs to British servicemen during autumn and winter 1914. It is possible they were used in the football matches between British and German troops that this tournament recognises. Manchester City kick-off at the same time as Chelsea this weekend at the home of bottom club Leicester. The Citizens won 3-1 there almost exactly a year ago in the Capital One Cup. Last season Liverpool, then pressing leaders Chelsea, triumphed 3-0 at Old Trafford, where they return on Sunday.