The Champions League campaign begins this Tuesday as Chelsea welcome Europa League winners Sevilla to Stamford Bridge for MD 1. Sevilla won the Europa League in August to qualify for the Champions League as they beat Inter Milan in the final. Sevilla have played 5 games this season 4 in La Liga and the Uefa Super Cup game against Bayern. They lost the Super Cup 2-1 to Bayern, while they won their first two La Liga games before drawing against Barcelona and losing to Granada at the weekend. A mixed start for Lopetegui and co as they begin this Champions League campaign.
Chelsea’s Champions League campaign ended in the Round of 16 last season as we were knocked out by eventual winners Bayern Munich. This season we have got Group E with Krasnodar, and Rennes being the other clubs involved in the group. On the face of it we should reach the Round of 16 without an issue but as we have seen this season there have been plenty of surprises and so we will have to treat every game with the utmost importance. We go into this game having drawn against Southampton 3-3, a performance that highlighted our great quality going forward but also the problems we can suffer when defending especially the individual mistakes which continue to be a thorn in this Chelsea team.
Chelsea Team Preview
Chelsea and Lampard should have a fit squad available for selection going into this game. Mendy should be back in goal with Chilwell, Zouma, Silva, and Reece James making up the back four. I expect Kante and Jorginho to continue in the pivot with Pulisic, Havertz, Ziyech and Werner making up the front 4. Now of course Lampard can choose to rest Pulisic and play Werner there with Tammy up front or Chilwell can be rested with Azpilicueta being given a start. Mount or Kovacic could also be involved but I feel like this is the best possible XI we can field at the moment. Mendy and Silva should provide the solidity in defence that was missing against Southampton while that front four should be eye catching.
Sevilla Team Preview
Rakitic has returned to Sevilla from Barcelona and has added some midfield creativity to a side that largely resembles the one from a couple of months ago. Lopetegui usually plays a 4-3-3 and the likes of Ocampos, De Jong, and Suso pose that attacking threat going forward. Sevilla did lose left back Reguilon this summer as he returned to Real Madrid and then was sold to Tottenham but they have placed Acuna at that position. Navas a former City player plays as right back while Kounde is a highly sought after CB. Bono also had a masterclass against Manchester United and one can expect he will be up for this game as well. Sevilla are known as the king’s of the Europa League but whether they look to finish 3rd and head back there or finish in the top 2 of the group is yet to be known.
Starting XI Prediction
Sevilla is probably the toughest opposition that Chelsea have in this group on paper and so to get an early win over them would be a massive 3 points in the right direction. Time to start the Champions League campaign with a win, COME ON CHELSEA!!!