Chelsea can claim their spot in the Champions League Round of 16 with a win at Valencia. Valencia are better at home and the Blues are better away, so we have to give the edge to the Blues.
Group H of the Champions League is the tightest of them all, but if either team wins then there will at least be certainty at the top. The winner of this match goes through, and Chelsea have the advantage of recent form and momentum.
Vansh Ambashta: Valencia 1 – 2 Chelsea. Chelsea is coming off a good performance against Manchester City. Despite the loss, there were plenty of positives and the Blues should be full of confidence.
Valencia is a tricky side to deal with. The Blues must be very cautious in their approach and look to capitalize on any chances that come their way. As seen in recent games, their defense will struggle when playing out from the back with tight moments here and there. Valencia will open the scoring in the first half through a giveaway by the Chelsea defenders. A screamer from Kurt Zouma and a late goal from Michy Batshuayi will result in three points.
Barrett Rouen: 2 – 2. Both teams will want this one but Valencia are at home and in good form. It could go 2-1 to the Blues, but a draw seems a bit more likely to me.
Olaoluwa Nwobodo: 2 – 3. Valencia don’t seem to be gifting anyone clean sheets in the Champions League so far. Facing them at home makes this match many times more difficult.
While Chelsea’s away form has been better than their home form, this match will be a different kettle of fish. It might as well be the last match of the group stage, because the outcome of this could see Chelsea heading down to defend their Europa League trophy. Chelsea will start strong and wane toward the end, but the damage would already be done through goals from Jorginho, Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount.
Scott Brant: 1 – 2. That boring old 2-1 again, but this time in favor of the Blues. Chelsea are the better squad, and are amazing on the road. Look for them to battle out a hard fought victory, the type needed to build confidence for a team in the Champions League.
Tammy Abraham has been a big match guy, so expect him to be a handful, along with Mason Mount, who was finally rested at the weekend and will undoubtedly make a difference in this one. Abraham and Batshuayi to score.
Kevin Peacock: 2 – 2. Frank Lampard seems to have got his team up for the big Champions League games, but Valencia will be keen to secure points from what is a very tight group. Chelsea’s fightback in the last Champions League game against Ajax, although impressive, exposed defensive frailties yet to be sorted.
The Blues are good but have struggled to kill games off. A draw between these two would give Ajax a chance to take control of the group, and that’s where I’m at.
Abhishek Pancholi: 1 – 3. This will be the game that will put Chelsea into the next round of the Champions League. Valencia will be without a few first team players in midfield, which should allow Jorginho to do more than just thwack the ball to the nearest player in a Chelsea shirt.
Tammy Abraham will, once again, give the visitors the lead in the first half. Willian and Christian Pulisic will make sure there’s no repeat of the Ajax home game, even though Valencia will grab a late consolation.
Nate Hofmann: 1 – 2. Is it too soon to say this is Chelsea’s biggest match of the season? Maybe, but I’m rolling with it anyways. A win puts either side in the knockout round. The blood pressure of the collective Chelsea community would benefit from just getting it over with in Spain, rather than sweating it out against Lille on the last match day.
Chelsea should know what to expect from Valencia now, which was certainly not the case the first time around. This Chelsea side, however, are a much different proposition than the team Valencia managed to steal three points from. I’m banking on that pure element of surprise being enough to earn Chelsea an early two-goal lead.
Inevitably, they’ll concede late and give me heart palpitations for the final 10 minutes or so.
Varun Dani: 1 – 3. In the title-winning campaign in 2011/12, Chelsea played Valencia in a crucial game to qualify for the last 16. Eight years on, Chelsea is in a similar do-or-die situation. Will Lampard’s team be at its clinical best or will defensive vulnerability haunt them again?
Here’s to hoping the former, with Tammy Abraham guiding the Blues to the last 16, like Didier Drogba did eight years ago.