Chelsea will face Valencia at the Mestalla on Wednesday as they look to secure their place in the next round of the Champions League.
As it stands, the Blues, Los Ches and Ajax are all level on seven points as we go into the final two matchdays. Therefore, it is anyone’s guess as to who will make it to the next round of the competition.
After the Stamford Bridge outfit’s defeat to Manchester City in the Premier League on Saturday – which was their first loss in seven in England’s top tier – Frank Lampard has some decisions to make in terms of his team selection against the Spanish side. Here, we try to predict his starting XI.
In goal, Kepa Arrizabalaga will take his usual place. Reports have indicated recently that Lampard is concerned about the form of the Spain international, but that is unlikely to see him drop from the first team line-up.
This match could see a couple of changes in the defence. At the weekend, the 41-year-old boss replaced Emerson with Reece James, putting the 19-year-old at right-back and moving Cesar Azpilicueta to left-back. It was a tactical change he also implemented at half-time during the Blues’ last Champions League fixture against Ajax. With de Godenzonen leading 3-1 when the switch was made, Chelsea managed to pull it back to 4-4. This may convince Lampard to use that set-up from the start. At the heart of the back four, expect Fikayo Tomori and Kurt Zouma to be named.
Against the Citizens, the former Derby County manager used a 4-3-3 formation, deploying three central midfielders. With his team also needing defensive stability in Spain, it is likely that we will see the same system again. Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic and N’Golo Kante, therefore, will all be hoping to have a positive impact in the middle of the park.
On the wings, Willian’s experience is likely to see him be given the nod once again on the right, but there could be a change on the opposite flank. Mason Mount did not start at the Etihad Stadium and, as such, could replace Christian Pulisic in the team.
Up front, Tammy Abraham should be chosen once again by his boss. With just one goal in is first four Champions League matches of the season, he will be looking to add to that tally against Albert Celades’ team.
In other news, this key battle could decide the outcome of this captivating thrilling European match-up.