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Chelsea vs Valencia Champions League: Match Preview

Mon 16 September 2019 | 12:05

Last season's UEFA Europa League winners Chelsea make their return to the UEFA Champions League against familiar rivals as Valencia travel to Stamford Bridge on matchday one.

Date: Tuesday, 17 September

Time: 8 PM BST

Venue: Stamford Bridge

Chelsea head into their first Champions League fixture of the season against Valencia on the back of an impressive 5-2 victory at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday night.

Valencia, meanwhile, found themselves on the receiving end of the same scoreline as Albert Celades witnessed his new side suffered a heavy defeat to Barcelona at Camp Nou.

While Chelsea begin their European campaign under Frank Lampard, the Blues can at least start their bid to qualify for the knockout stages having put together a four-match unbeaten run in the Premier League.

The home draws against Leicester City and Sheffield United came as disappointments, but their demolition of Wolves at the weekend has shown what this young side is capable of when it all comes together.

Tammy Abraham's hat-trick, taking his overall tally to seven goals from three games, deservedly dominated the headlines, although another eye-catching display from Mason Mount has left the club's supporters salivating at the prospect of the academy graduate making his bow in Europe.

Considerable doubts remain over the defense, which has now shipped 13 goals in six outings, but Chelsea's short-term progression is all about getting results on the board, rather than fixating on a shaky backline.

Celades will perhaps be already looking ahead to a generous run of four home matches in five outings on their return to Spain, although he will acknowledge that his squad cannot afford another defeat at an important stage of his reign and the club's season.

Despite Lampard acknowledging that he only went with a three-man defense against Wolves in order to adapt to their opponents, the club legend may opt against switching strategies for a game scheduled three days later.

Antonio Rudiger will miss out with a groin injury, leaving Kurt Zouma to return to the side alongside Andreas Christensen and Fikayo Tomori.

With N'Golo Kante still trying to shake off an ankle sprain, the midfield four should remain the same, with perhaps just one alteration being made further forward.

Christian Pulisic could potentially come back into the starting lineup in place of Willian, who came through his first 90 minutes of the season against Wolves.

Celades may also decide against making major changes to his Valencia team, although the newly-appointed boss could move away from naming two forwards.

Geoffrey Kondogbia is in line to be handed a recall in midfield, with Kevin Gameiro likely to be the player to miss out.

Last five meetings:

6 December 2011: Chelsea 3-0 Valencia

28 September 2011: Valencia 1-1 Chelsea

11 December 2007: Chelsea 0-0 Valencia

3 October 2007: Valencia 1-2 Chelsea

10 April 2007: Valencia 1-2 Chelsea

Possible starting lineups:

Chelsea:

Arrizabalaga; Zouma, Christensen, Tomori; Azpilicueta, Jorginho, Kovacic, Alonso; Mount, Pulisic; Abraham

Valencia:

Cillessen; Wass, Garay, Paulista, Gaya; Torres, Coquelin, Kondogbia, Parejo, Guedes; Rodrigo


source: SportMob