This year Chelsea will for the first time start a proper Europa League season thanks to the fact that we finished 5th last season. Europa League is Europe’s second tier club tournament that essentially starts in January when the 3rd placed Champion’s League group teams are brought in to the competition. Why those teams are brought in is something that does not make sense but so it is. The Europa League is looked down upon by player’s and fans alike and personally I agree to a certain extent just due to the fact that I will only cover Chelsea until January. In all honesty though the Europa League is becoming an increasingly important competition for the top 6 in English football as it gives a chance for an extra fifth team to qualify for the Champions League the following season. With the battle for the top four becoming increasingly difficult the Europa League is a legitimate way to get into Europe’s main competition for the remaining two teams.
Chelsea won the Europa League in 2013 which at the time meant that we were the first team to have both the Europa League and Champions League in our possession albeit for a week or so. Benitez was our manager then and we played Benfica in the final. That season we finished third in the league and were a largely different team to the one that will take part in the competition this season.
This season we are in Group L along with the likes of PAOK, Bate Borisov, and Videoton. I honestly only knew Bate Borisov when the group’s were announced and that is why the Europa League essentially starts in January. Our opponents for tomorrow’s game is PAOK a team from Greece who finished second in their league last season and are currently 4th after 3 games. Greece is a scenic country and other than its great history all I know is that Chelsea should top this group with 6 wins in 6 starting off with the game against PAOK.
Chelsea Team Preview
Sarri should field a second string side for the game with the likes of Hudson-Odoi, and Ampadu getting starts in Greece. Fabregas might feature while there are question marks over the availability of Loftus-Cheek. Sarri has stated that his whole squad should get chances starting this week and this game and the Europa League and League Cup in general are a great opportunity for our fringe players to stake a claim for a starting XI spot.
PAOK Team Preview
Razvan Lucescu should have a full squad to choose from for their game tomorrow. PAOK also managed to rest a couple of players at the weekend and it should be a great game and atmosphere for their supporters.
Starting XI Prediction
Time to start our Europa League campaign with a win and hopefully one that leads to the final and a trophy. COME ON CHELSEA!!!