Champions League Group Stage Predictions – Chelsea

The 2012 European champions enter the 2020/21 Champions League with a clear run at topping their group.

Last year the Blues made it to the Round of 16 before clashing with eventual winners Bayern Munich, where they were beaten home and away in a humbling 7-1 aggregate defeat.

This year though, Frank Lampard will expect his side to perform much better than they did last season having spent the best part of £250million to strengthen his side in the summer. After signing Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, Kai Havertz, Thiago Silva, Ben Chilwell and Edouard Mendy to boost the starting line-up you’d expect them to at the bare minimum exceed their performance from the previous campaign.

Having been drawn in a group with Sevilla, Rennes and Krasnodar, Chelsea will be the favourites to top the group and progress to the Round of 16,

They start their campaign against Europa League holders Sevilla, who have begun their La Liga season impressively with 7 points from their opening four games.

Frank Lampard is still trying to figure out his best eleven and even potentially his best formation however. After all the additions to his side, it was expected that it would be a 4-2-3-1 trying to get the best out of Kai Havertz behind his international team-mate Timo Werner up front. So far though, he has gone with a 4-3-3 with Havertz out wide.

Mason Mount has been a constant in Lampard’s side throughout the entire campaign so far and doesn’t look to be playing himself out of favour despite the struggles of the team, which were exacerbated as Chelsea blew a 2-0 and 3-2 lead in their draw with Southampton this past weekend.

Ngolo Kante has struggled for form for the most part this season too and Lampard is yet to decide whether his best option to partner him is Jorginho or Mateo Kovacic.

My Best XI: Mendy; James, Zouma, T. Silva, Chilwell;
Kante, Kovacic; Ziyech, Havertz, Pulisic; Werner

With Chelsea comfortably the strongest team in their group, they should be looking for maximum points in all their group games. They will be expected to win all their home games, starting with Tuesday’s visit of Sevilla. With the attacking threat they have and the European nous now flowing through the side, they are much better placed to perform well in the premier competition for club football.

They should be beating Sevilla all things considered, especially at home. They match up well physically and have enough firepower in their squad to find the back of the net, although defensively they still have holes in their team so I expect Sevilla will be confident of causing them issues. If Chelsea can secure 4 points from the two fixtures against their Spanish opposition then they will win the group.

Elsewhere in the group are competition debutants Rennes. An exciting French outfit, boasting the prodigal son Eduardo Camavinga in midfield, they will be entering the tournament fearlessly. Defensively they are open but going forward they are very good at creating chances and don’t crumble mentally if they fall behind. Much like Sevilla, they will certainly cause Chelsea problems in the reverse fixture but at Stamford Bridge the Blues will expect to take all three points. Krasnodar will pose a tricky away day too for Lampard’s side but the individual quality on the pitch should be enough for them to take maximum points from both games.

I expect they will win the group with a game to spare and be joined in the next round with Sevilla but Rennes’ unpredictability should make it an exciting group throughout.

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