Whether you’re an ardent Chelsea fan or simply a studious punter, the Champions League Scout dossier on Sporting Lisbon, the Blues’ next opponents in the competition is sure to be of interest.
Jose Mourinho’s side are 73/100 for the win as their manager returns to the city of his birth, with the hosts 17/5 outsiders and the draw 11/4.
So…what’s the story?
Last season saw boss Leonardo Jardim guided Sporting back to national prominence after several years in the doldrums.
It turned out to be his only term at the wheel before the gone-in-the-blink-of-an-eye riches of Monaco came calling.
Marco Silva, who took tiny Estoril to fourth last term, is the new broom.
Defensive midfielder William Carvalho burst to prominence last term with his muscular and economical performances at the base of midfield, winning four Primeira Liga player of the month gongs in the process.
Elsewhere Algerian line-leader Islam Slimani is an effective presence up front who has two goals to his name already this term, while in-form Andre Carillo’s three strikes mean he has already posted his finest league total in four seasons at the club.
More one-for-alls than a Three Musketeers reunion, with four of their six Liga Zon Sagres games to date ending 1-1.
That clashes with Portuguese heavyweights Benfica and Porto fall into that bracket highlight the fact that scoring goals is a greater issue than limiting them for the Leoes.
Sporting have returned to Europe’s Premier club competition for the first time in five seasons.
Their last assault on ‘Ol Big Ears’ ended at the hands of Fiorentina in the 2009/10 renewal.
A hat-trick of seasons in the Europe League followed, with a semi-final exit in 2011/12 balanced out by a group-stage demise the following term.
Champions League form
A massive 27 attempts on goal were mustered against Slovenian champions Maribor in their Group G opener.
Yet just one crossed the line before a late comedy mix up gifted their hosts an equaliser.