VAL vs CHE Dream11: Chelsea will be eying a spot in the Champions League knockout stages when they play Valencia at Mestalla Stadium in Valencia, Spain, on Wednesday night (IST).
Things are pretty tight in Group H as all three Ajax, Chelsea, and Valencia are tied on seven points going into round-five fixtures. All three have equal chances of qualifying to the last-16 and have their destiny in their own hands.
This is a rematch the 2006-07 semifinal when Michale Essien’s last-gasp winner sent the Blues into the semifinal, where Jose Mourinho’s team lost to Liverpool.
Ajax have a relatively easy fixture as they face Lille in France. It’s a win-win situation for the Dutch champions as one team is certain to drop points between Chelsea and Valencia, and so a win for Ajax will take them to 10 points. They will then need to avoid defeat in the last game to book a spot in the next round.
That said, there’s a possibility that Ajax could qualify even before the next game, but for that to happen, Ajax must win at Lille, while Valencia collects all three points against Chelsea.
As for Chelsea and Valencia, the win will bring the winner to the brink of last-16 qualification, but the draw wouldn’t be fatal to either team. If indeed both the teams share the spoil here, bot Chelsea and Valencia will have to match each other’s result in the last round, while also playing to some mathematical calculation which will only be clear after this match.
The Spanish teams are known for keeping things tight both in the midfield and at the back, contrary to what we witness week in and week out in the Premier League where teams go gung-ho with their attacking instincts. And considering the high stakes in this game, it just looks like it’s going to be a case of or adopting the tactics of keep-the-opponent-out of final 3rd kind here.
That’s why Daniel Parejo is critical here for Valencia’s chances in this particular game. He is somebody who can execute a two-way plan with certainty. He can be effective with his passing – long-range and short-range – and can pop up with a goal or some key passes at any moment in the match.
Jorginho over Wass: Both the players will come in each other’s way but Jorginho is expected to win the battle here, just because of the quality of players around him, especially N’Golo Kante, who can bring his defensive game out if asked or needed.
Competition: UEFA Champions League group stage
Match Venue: Mestalla Stadium
Match Timing: Wednesday 27, @11:25 PM
Sony Sports Network has the exclusive right to broadcast UEFA Champions League matches in India.
Valencia team news: Valencia are hit hard by injuries and could be without as many as half a dozen first-team players for the clash against Chelsea.
Denis Cheryshev is not with the squad despite making some progress in his injury. He joins the likes of Ruben Sorino, Mouctar Diakhaby, Goncalo Guedes, Cristiano Piccini, and Geoffrey Kondogbia on the sideline.
That said, head coach Albert Celades named both Francis Coquelin and Ezequiel Garay in his squad for the Chelsea game. The duo missed the action at the weekend due to injuries.
Goalkeepers: Cillessen, Domenech
Defenders: Thierry, Costa, Mangala, Paulista, Gaya, Wass, Garay, Guillamon
Midfielders: Soler, Parejo, Kang-in, Coquelin, Ferran
Attackers: Gameiro, M. Vallejo, Rodrigo, M. Gomez
Chelsea team news: Ruben Loftus-Cheek is a long-term injury absentee for the Blues. Ross Barkley remained in London despite making a return to training this week. Frank Lampard said that the former Everton star needs to regain match fitness.
In addition, Callum Hudson-Odoi remains out with a knock and Antionio Rudiger is working towards match fitness and remains unavailable at this moment.
Valencia: Cillessen (GK), Costa, Gabriel Paulista, Mangala, Gaya, Torres, Parejo, Wass, Vallejo, Gameiro, Gomez
Chelsea: Arrizabalaga (GK), Cezar Azpilicueta, Kurt Zouma, Tomori, Emerson Palmieri, Kante, Jorginho, Willian, Mount, Pulisic, Abraham
Defenders: Azpilicueta, Zouma, J Gaya, E Garay
Midfielders: Willian (VC), C Pulisic, D Parejo, F Torres
Strikers: M Gomez, R. Moreno (C)
It’s a tough call, but Chelsea looks favourite here. Valencia have been blowing hot and cold at the same time and are too inconsistent at the moment, we think the pressure of delivering in front of the own fans would sink them.