Chelsea ready to strike as Genk visit
With Spain striker Fernando Torres back from a domestic ban and England prospect Daniel Sturridge in the form of his life, Chelsea will have plenty of offensive firepower on display when it hosts Belgian struggler Genk in the Champions League at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
The English giants have shown more spark and creativity going forward since the arrival of Portuguese coach Andre Villas-Boas and the signing of Spain winger Juan Mata this summer - and Torres and Sturridge are reveling in the team's new attacking approach.
Torres has been returning to his best form this season, scoring in successive Premier League games against Manchester United and Swansea and also impressing against Bayer Leverkusen and Valencia in the Champions League.
Sturridge, meanwhile, is showing why he is being widely tipped as a future England regular, scoring four goals in his past four league games from his position on the right of a front three in his first prolonged spell in Chelsea's first team.
"I'd say, professionally, I think it's the best I've played," said the 22-year-old Sturridge. "In the youth team, I used to do it regularly but it comes as a surprise to me because I'm doing it in the professional game.
"I'm enjoying it and I'm happy I'm taking it into the first team."
With Genk bottom of Group E with one point and only ninth in the 16-team Belgian league, Chelsea will be confident its in-form attacking unit, that also includes Mata, Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka, can help extend the team's unbeaten start to the Champions League and inch closer to qualification.
Torres is in the middle of a three-match ban in the Premier League but is available in the Champions League, where he set up both of Chelsea's goals in a 2-0 home win over Leverkusen and led the line well in the 1-1 draw at Valencia.
Villas-Boas hinted Torres will be recalled to the team on Wednesday, with Drogba set to drop out after starting the 3-1 win over Everton on Saturday.
"If we don't decide on him, it will be a long time out of the game," Villas-Boas said of Torres.
Aside from the long-term absence of Ghana midfielder Michael Essien (knee) and Ramires also absent, Chelsea's squad is otherwise at full strength.
And with Villas-Boas managing expectations well in the early stages of his tenure at Chelsea and his freescoring team third in the Premier League, just behind Manchester City and Manchester United, there is a feel-good factor sweeping around Stamford Bridge.
"From what I understand from the chairman, there's confidence in the work we're doing," Villas-Boas said.