Petr checks in for a Prague return as part of strong Chelsea squad for Europa League tie
12:21 GMT, 13 February 2013
14:08 GMT, 13 February 2013
Petr Cech looks ready for a return to his native Czech Republic as Chelsea jetted off for their Europa League tie against Sparta Prague.
In an Instagram picture posted by Juan
Mata, the Chelsea goalkeeper seems relaxed and gives the thumbs
up as he is photographed next to Mata.
Forgotten man Yossi Benayoun was also part of the travelling party, posting a picture of himself sitting next to Ryan Bertrand.
Jet-set: Juan Mata and Petr Cech on the plane, the latter returning to his home country
Relaxed: Yossi Benayoun and Ryan Bertrand, enjoying the flight to the Czech capital
But John Mikel Obi and Victor Moses, who
both starred in Nigeria's Africa Cup of Nations victory over Burkino
Faso, have been left at home as Rafael Benitez tries to avoid making the
same mistake as Neil Lennon, who played Efe Ambrose against Juventus
two days after the final in South Africa.
Demba Ba is cup-tied after appearing for
Newcastle in the earlier stages and David Luiz is suspended. John
Terry travelled despite missing the win over Wigan on Saturday with a knee injury.
Chelsea have not played in Europe's second-tier competition since the 2002-03 season when they lost 5-4 to Norwegian side Viking FK in the first round.
Their bid to retain the Champions League failed at the group stages, but the Blues' season has become no less hectic with trips around the continent in the Europa League.
Defeated: Chelsea drew and lost against Juventus, results which contributed to their failure
The absence of Ba will mean another probable start for Fernando Torres up front at the Generali Arena.
yellow cards in the group stage of the Champions League mean Luiz will
not be featuring in Prague, with Gary Cahill likely to be partnered with
Chelsea were knocked out of the Champions League losing their away matches to Shakhtar Donetsk and Juventus.
Willian the conqueror: Shakhtar's Brazilian (right) was a thorn in Chelsea's side over their two matches
Title: Victor Moses was instrumental in Nigeria's Africa Cup of Nations victory
Trophy: Neither Moses or John Mikel Obi are being risked in the Europa League
They may have thrashed Nordsjlland 6-1 at home but because results did not go their way they were left floundering in third place.
Benitez will undoubtedly see this as a competition worth winning as his
tenure at Stamford Bridge looks likely to be very short.
the league now out of the question as Manchester United move further
and further clear, Chelsea will put out a strong side in the hope of
achieving silverware this season.