Chelsea v Valencia CF: Preview, Team News, Predicted XI | UEFA Champions League 2019-20
Champions League football is back and the first game-week starts tonight, with Europe's elite clubs facing each other in the annual club tournament.
For the blue half of London, it is even more special as Chelsea make a return to the Champions League this season after their successful Europa League campaign last year. The Blues face Spanish club Valencia in their tournament opener tonight.
Chelsea sit sixth on the Premier League table on the back of some average performances in the first four weeks and finally culminating in a scintillating display against Wolves this past weekend which the Londoners won 5-2 at the Molineux.
Meanwhile, Valencia have endured a difficult start to the season as they are placed 13th on the La Liga table with 2 losses in their first four games. This past week, Los Ches were prey to a dominating Barcelona side who thrashed them 5-2 at the Camp Nou.
There have been six matches in between the two sides and a very interesting piece of trivia is the fact that Valencia have won none of them, with Chelsea winning 3 and the other three being level at the end of the ninety minutes. The last time these two sides met back in 2011, Chelsea won 3-0 in a convincing victory over the Spanish club.
Will the Blues continue their Premier League form in their return to the Champions League football, or will Valencia pull a shocker away from home to secure their first official victory over Chelsea?
Here's the team news and the predicted lineups for the game.
Chelsea fans can expect to see Antonio Rudiger make a comeback to the squad for the first time this season after being sidelined due to injury. Also, academy graduate Reece James could get his Stamford Bridge debut tonight, probably for a few minutes late in the second half.
The Blues have been hit by a long list of short term casual injuries, namely Emerson, Kante and Pedro while the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi are recovering from their long term injuries.
Hat-trick hero Tammy Abraham might be rested and Olivier Giroud might be brought in, with the latter being the top-scorer of Europa League last season.
The lineup from the Wolves game is not expected to be changed to a large extent but Lampard may rest a few players for their big game against Liverpool on the weekend.
Russian World Cup sensation Denis Cheryshev might start for Valencia on the right wing after starting on the bench against FC Barcelona this past weekend.
Hit by a lack of major squad depth, new manager Albert Celades will not be in a position to make many changes to his squad. Kevin Gameiro, who has been in great form recently, is set to start in the number 9 role attacking the Chelsea goal.
The defensive duo of Gabriel and Garay both have good experience playing against Premier League sides, which can be helpful as they take on Chelsea tonight.
Chelsea (3-4-3-1): Kepa, Christensen, Zouma, Tomori, Alonso, Kovacic, Jorginho, Azpilicueta (c), Pulisic, Mount, Pedro, Giroud.
Valencia CF (4-3-3): Cillessen, Gaya, Gabriel, Garay, Costa, Guedes, Parejo (c), Cheryshev, Rodrigo, Gomez, Gameiro.Modified Dec 21, 2019