Sports Mole previews Tuesday’s Champions League clash between Chelsea and Sevilla, including team news and predicted lineups.
Stamford Bridge will host a mouthwatering Champions League contest on Tuesday night as Chelsea welcome Europa League holders Sevilla in Group E.
Both teams will fancy their chances of advancing from a section that also includes Krasnodar and Rennes, and it should be a fascinating match between the two teams in the English capital.
Somewhat surprisingly, each of Chelsea’s last four Champions League campaigns have ended in the round of 16, including a 7-1 aggregate defeat to Bayern Munich in last season’s competition, with the eventual winners proving far too strong for Frank Lampard‘s side over the course of two legs.
The Blues ensured that they would be present in this season’s Champions League by finishing fourth in the Premier League last season and securing top-level European action certainly helped them in the transfer market as they spent big in an attempt to return to former glories.
It would be fair to say that Lampard’s side are still working their way into the 2020-21 campaign, though, picking up eight points from their five Premier League matches thus far.
Chelsea looked on course to collect all three points against Southampton on Saturday when they raced into a two-goal lead, but the Saints recovered to eventually claim a point in a 3-3 draw, and there have been a number of defensive issues in the opening weeks of the season.
The Blues will be determined to start their Champions League challenge with a win, but they have only been victorious in one of their last five games in this competition and lost at home to Sevilla’s domestic rivals Valencia in their opening match of the 2019-20 tournament.
Sevilla, meanwhile, will also enter Tuesday’s clash off the back of a disappointing domestic result, having suffered a 1-0 defeat away to Granada on Saturday.
Julen Lopetegui‘s side have picked up seven points from their first four league games of the season, though, and tasted more European success back in August when they beat Inter Milan to win the Europa League.
The Spanish outfit would have qualified for the group stages of this season’s Champions League through their La Liga position, but they impressively beat Roma, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Manchester United in the latter stages of the Europa League before recording a 3-2 success over Inter in the final.
Sevilla reached the quarter-finals of the 2017-18 Champions League, while they have won 16 of their 30 matches in the group stages of this competition and are capable of matching the best teams in Europe, having run Bayern Munich close in the UEFA Super Cup towards the end of September.
Chelsea Champions League form: WDDWLL
Chelsea form (all competitions): LWDLWD
Sevilla Champions League form: DDDWLD
Sevilla form (all competitions): LWWDL
Chelsea will again be without the services of Edouard Mendy for Tuesday’s contest, meaning that Kepa Arrizabalaga could keep his spot between the sticks despite another poor showing against Southampton.
Billy Gilmour is also out with a knee problem, but the Blues have recently recovered both Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic, meaning that Lampard has plenty of options in the final third of the field.
Thiago Silva was rested against Southampton but should return for this match, while Reece James is also expected to be given the nod at right-back ahead of Cesar Azpilicueta.
Ziyech made his debut off the bench at the weekend, but the summer arrival is unlikely to be thrown straight into the XI here, which should see Mason Mount and Pulisic keep their spots, while N’Golo Kante could be rested ahead of the Manchester United clash with Mateo Kovacic coming in.
As for Sevilla, key centre-back Jules Kounde is out of the contest after recently testing positive for coronavirus, but the Spanish side are otherwise in good shape when it comes to injuries.
Lopetegui will make changes from the side that started against Granada on Saturday, with Luuk de Jong and Lucas Ocampos both expected to return in the final third of the field.
Marcos Acuna should also start at left-back, while the absence of Kounde is expected to see summer arrival Karim Rekik make his debut alongside Diego Carlos, although Sergi Gomez was given the nod at the weekend and is also in contention.
Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Kepa; James, Silva, Zouma, Chilwell; Kovacic, Jorginho; Mount, Havertz, Pulisic; Werner
Sevilla possible starting lineup:
Bounou; Navas, Rekik, Carlos, Acuna; Rakitic, Fernando, Jordan; Ocampos, De Jong, Suso
We say: Chelsea 2-2 Sevilla
This has all of the makings of an entertaining game in the English capital. Chelsea will be desperate to start their European campaign with a win, but Sevilla simply cannot be underestimated, and we fancy Lopetegui’s side to secure a share of the spoils at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night.
Top betting tip
Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or draw in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Draw:curl
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