The Champions League always makes us aware of a couple of things.
Firstly, you begin to realise that absolutely none of your mates ever paid attention in geography class in school, and half of them still think the Soviet Union is operating out of Moscow. No, going to play Dynamo Kiev is not that big a deal anymore; get over it.
Secondly, we find out teams who are phenomenal in England may not actually translate that form to the continent, and the reasons for that generally are down to counter-attacking prowess in Germany, France and the lower-placed co-efficient nations. While we all marvel over Man City and Liverpool’s ability to keep possession, they’re rarely punished for sloppiness in midfield because teams aren’t encouraged to break en-masse against them.
Go look at Lyon last year – case and point.
For Chelsea, they’re hoping the inverse is true. While they struggle in transition in England and cough up goal after goal at the back, maybe that looseness means teams have to actually attack them somewhat. Either way, given the adoration a certain oligarch has for this competition, it could be the making or breaking of Mr Francis Lampard.
Here’s three shrewd positions for you to take on their Champions League opener against Sevilla.
The real key to Sevilla is generally their home versus away performances, but thankfully for them, that home advantage really doesn’t matter a pile. For a team that are considered the Kings of Europe’s lesser competition, they’ve got a fairly sterling record in the Champions League too.
In the 24 home games they’ve played in the Champions League, they’ve failed to score just once – against Manchester United in 2018. In away games? They’ve drawn a blank in 11 of their 24.
Given this is hardly an away game in the usual sense, I suspect we’ll see them adapt their approach and attack Chelsea. After all, there’s a blueprint there from, erm, Southampton and West Brom.
The reasons for this are simple – I don’t suspect either of these teams will continue to overload once they get ahead.
Scoring first in Europe has an even bigger success rate in European competition than it does in domestic leagues – because the seismic nature of the competition plays on people’s minds. Think about how many late, dramatic goals there have been in Europe per game?
It’s outrageous when you consider most of us just watch the British sides, and then the latter stages.
Nobody gets out of sight here, no matter how good they look in the early stages.
All he does is score big goals, and when you consider that he’s on penalty duty for Sevilla too, well – you know where I’m going with this.
Chelsea’s backline has looked porous at various stages this year, but it’s not exactly to do with structure – more individual brain farts. And I suppose when you scan across the defensive line, you can kind of see where they come from.
It’s a good value play.
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Chelsea v Sevilla tips
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