AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

STAR PREVIEW: Chelsea v Valencia

It’s not easy for Chelsea fans to know what to expect from their young guns in the Champions League this season, but if their Premier League form is anything to go by the Blues should be in for a wild ride and that could begin tonight against Valencia.

Frank Lampard, who had so many memories as a player in the Champions League, makes his managerial debut tonight in the competition a club that he actually played against the last time the two met, but much has changed since that fateful 2011 season.

Chelsea v Valencia
UEFA Champions League Group Stage
20:00 BT Sport 3 / BT Sport Ultimate HD

HEAD TO HEAD RECORD
(Maximum 10 matches, Since 2000)
DEC 2011 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Chelsea 3-0 Valencia
SEP 2011 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Valencia 1-1 Chelsea
DEC 2007 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Chelsea 0-0 Valencia
OCT 2007 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Valencia 1-2 Chelsea
APR 2007 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Valencia 1-2 Chelsea
APR 2007 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Chelsea 1-1 Valencia

This is a new-look Chelsea team, one in transition with an inexperienced manager and plenty of young talent, but also plenty of firepower. This was shown in tremendous style against Wolves, when a switch to a 3-4-3 to match the hosts reaped huge rewards, an outstanding midfield performances from Mason Mount and Willian allowed Tammy Abraham to wreak havoc.

Abraham scored a hat-trick in the space of 21 minutes to make it seven goals in his past three appearances, and he is now joint leading scorer in the Premier League with Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero. Mason Mount, who deserved his goal that put the gloss on the scoreline, has scored three in the league so far, meaning that Chelsea’s last 10 goals have been score by English U21 internationals.

It remains to be seen how Abraham and Mount shape up to European football but Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho had solid games there and experience at this level, whilst Lampard may well be encouraged to go on the front foot by using Marcos-Alonso as a wing back with a back three that included Fikayo Tomori, who also scored a goal there.

That was their most impressive performance of the season, but goals have been a constant theme of their campaign – the only team to keep them to a clean sheet was United, and even then that was in a game when they hit the post and had 18 shots.

Valencia come here in turmoil, as the club’s call to sack Marcelino just a few months after winning the Copa del Rey and earning a ticket back to Europe has mystified many and angered some of the first team too, as evidenced by a media boycott. Former Barcelona midfielder Albert Celades has been catapulted into the hot seat, and his first assignment – against his former club no less – ended in a 5-2 thrashing at the Mestalla.

We don’t know how Celdaes will get on in the long term but he does have attacking quality to use; a front three of Rodrigo, Kevin Gameiro and Maxi Gomez packs plenty of punch and Valencia may have defended poorly but they don’t seem to struggle to score.

Valencia have conceded in all but one of their games this season, the exception being Mallorca, and Chelsea have conceded twice in five of their six matches, including against Norwich. Over 2.5 goals looks a very strong runner.

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