Chelsea 3 vs. 1 Bate Borisov Europa League Group Stage Review

Loftus-Cheek day!

Chelsea continued there winning run in the Europa League with a comfortable win against Bate Borisov. The lineup was fairly expected but Kovacic started ahead of Barkley while Willian started ahead of Pedro. Loftus-Cheek scored a brilliant hattrick with the first goal coming in the 2nd minute and goals following in the 8th and 53rd minute. Bate did grab a consolation goal in the 79th minute via Rios. 

The game was surprisingly the Chelsea’s first in the Europa League where they actually seemed to dominate the game. Every single player played the position as they should have as. The standout performer was Loftus-Cheek as he was everywhere and he certainly grabbed the chance given to him. Hudson-Odoi also made his first appearance since the Community Shield and played decently even creating a couple of chances. 

Sarri now has a tough decision to make about who he should start in the third midfield position. Kovacic is superior to Barkley, and Ruben when it comes to defence duties but Loftus-Cheek certainly possesses the edge when it comes to offensive capabilities, Barkley falls somewhere in the middle.  All three are in brilliant form and Sarri stated that they would have to improve in the defensive phase of their game to get the chance of playing simultaneously in the same team. 

As far as the Europa League is concerned Chelsea have now won three games in a row and that means that one more win or a draw would guarantee them the top spot. With three games left to play an early progression would mean that Sarri would be free to play as much youth as he can. Chelsea’s next game in the Europa League is a trip to Belarus to play Bate. 

COME ON YOU BLUES!!

Chelsea vs. Bate Borisov Europa League MD 3 Preview

Can we see some youth?

Our Europa League campaign has been lacklustre at best till now. Two 1-0 wins keep us at the top of the group but we should be winning these games in a more comfortable fashion. 

This game should be a comfortable win but Sarri needs to play the youth and mainly Hudson-Odoi. With players like Sancho starring at Dortmund Hudson-Odoi will be questioning his decision of not going out on loan this season. Chelsea need to break this pattern of not playing youth talent and start trusting them in Europa League games at least.

Bate are third in the group and Chelsea should not be at any risk of losing or drawing this game although if we are not at our best then any team will defeat us. 

Chelsea Team Preview

Loftus-Cheek is expected to start once again with some heavy rotation also expected. Jorginho will be rested and Hazard will not feature due to an injured back. Ampadu remains a long term injury. 

Starting XI Prediction 

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Let’s see some youth and another win in the Europa League! COME ON YOU BLUES!!!

Chelsea 1 vs. 0 Mol Vidi FC Europa League MD 2 Review

Not the greatest of games but we got the job done. 

Chelsea made it difficult for themselves as they grabbed a late winner to make it two out of two wins in the Europa League. Sarri made 8 changes to the lineup as only Kepa, Kovacic, and Willian kept their places from the game against Liverpool. Loftus Cheek did start but Ampadu was left on the bench and Hudson-Odoi was not even selected for the matchday squad. Chelsea dominated the game and could have made it five or six nil in the first half but Morata missed a brilliant chance and Mol Vidi defender Juhasz made several blocks to keep the score level. It was turning out to be a frustrating night for Morata but he worked hard and finally got his goal in the 70th minute after smashing in a Willian headed pass. Vidi were a constant threat on the counter during the game and Kepa was forced into some brilliant saves in the latter stages of the second half to make sure that Chelsea got the three points. 

Chelsea seem to be finding the Europa League group stage hard as most teams are weaker than Chelsea and will prefer to sit back and defend as opposed to attacking and opening themselves up. While it is frustrating that teams set up like that it is good practice for Chelsea. Another concern that remains is the lack of goal contribution from Willian, and Pedro along with Giroud, Barkley, Kovacic. These guys need to start adding goals to their game because Hazard cannot win the game for Chelsea every single time. Kepa was brilliant in goal, Zappacosta was poor while Cahill, Christensen, and Emerson had decent games. Fabregas was great once again, Kovacic was good but he needs to improve on his shooting, and Loftus Cheek was good as well although he needs to work on his end product. Willian seems to be stealing a living at Chelsea, while Pedro made his first appearance back from injury and looked a bit slow. Morata was Morata for much of the game as he missed a clear chance and was unlucky to not score, but he stayed focused and his celebration showed how relieved he was. Hazard was brilliant off the bench but we should not be bringing him on for these types of games, Barkley was decent but again needs to work on his finishing, and Moses made little impact. 

Chelsea make it six points with double header against Bate to come following the International break. For now all eyes turn to Southampton and keeping pace with Liverpool and Man City. COME ON CHELSEA!!!

 

Chelsea vs. Mol Vidi FC Europa League MD 2 Preview

Time for bench players to shine!

After a decent 1-0 victory in Greece on match day one of the Europa League Chelsea will now play Mol Vidi FC who are the current Hungarian League champions. Mol Vidi are fairly dominant in the Hungarian League having won their last three games although they did lose to Bate at home on match day one. 

As far as Chelsea are concerned this should be an easy three points for us but the most important thing is to give our youth and fringe players another chance to impress Sarri. The attacking football has been a sight for sore eyes and while it may take at least a season for the full effect of Sarriball to take place fans need to be excited by the fact that we are so good already. The performance against Liverpool was a coming of age performance for Sarriball and many have made Chelsea outside favourites to challenge for the title. 

The Europa League until Jan is a competition for the fringe players to take part in and so expect plenty of rotation and hopefully the players that fans are yearning to see will be given a start by Sarri. 

Chelsea Team Preview

Caballero will most likely start with Bulka having an outside chance also. Zappacosta, Christensen, Cahill, and Emerson will probably start in defence. The midfield might see Loftus Cheek, Ampadu, and Fabregas get a chance to start and hopefully the first two do start. Up front Pedro, and Hudson-Odoi should start either side of Morata. Players like Hazard, Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic etc should get a deserved rest. 

Starting XI Prediction

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3 points are expected but more than that more than a couple of goals are also needed. COME ON YOU BLUES!!!

PAOK 0 vs. 1 Chelsea Europa League MD 1 Review

A win that could have been more. 

Chelsea started off their Europa League campaign with a win against PAOK in Greece. The starting lineup consisted of only five changes as Morata, Willian, Barkley, Christensen, and Zappacosta came in for Hazard, Giroud, Kovacic, Luiz, and Azpilicueta. I personally would have liked to see Ampadu, and Hudson-Odoi involved in some capacity but Sarri chose otherwise and they did not even make the bench. 

Chelsea started the game off with a goal in the 7th minute after Barkley broke through the midfield and passed it to Willian who scored the goal. Chelsea dominated the rest of the first half with Morata getting several chances to add to his goal tally but managing to convert none of them in a mixture of poor misses, and unlucky chances. Pedro also had a brilliant one on one chance but seemed to have forgotten his scoring boots in London. Chelsea dominated the game with 69% possession and 22 shots on goal though only 5 of those were on target. The shots on target aspect continues to be a problem for us and better teams will punish us, it is an area we need to improve on before we face Liverpool. 

Player wise Kepa kept a clean sheet, the whole defence played well, the midfield was its brilliant self, Morata got into the right positions but his scoring touch alludes him, Willian was decent, and Pedro was also decent without really causing any harm. Fabregas did come on in the second half for his first appearance of the season while the other subs were Giroud, and Azpilicueta. 

A win is a win as we sit second in our group after Bate beat Videoton. Next up is a game at West Ham. COME ON CHELSEA!!!

PAOK vs. Chelsea Europa League MD 1 Preview

Europa League! 

This year Chelsea will for the first time start a proper Europa League season thanks to the fact that we finished 5th last season. Europa League is Europe’s second tier club tournament that essentially starts in January when the 3rd placed Champion’s League group teams are brought in to the competition. Why those teams are brought in is something that does not make sense but so it is. The Europa League is looked down upon by player’s and fans alike and personally I agree to a certain extent just due to the fact that I will only cover Chelsea until January. In all honesty though the Europa League is becoming an increasingly important competition for the top 6 in English football as it gives a chance for an extra fifth team to qualify for the Champions League the following season. With the battle for the top four becoming increasingly difficult the Europa League is a legitimate way to get into Europe’s main competition for the remaining two teams. 

Chelsea won the Europa League in 2013 which at the time meant that we were the first team to have both the Europa League and Champions League in our possession albeit for a week or so. Benitez was our manager then and we played Benfica in the final. That season we finished third in the league and were a largely different team to the one that will take part in the competition this season.

This season we are in Group L along with the likes of PAOK, Bate Borisov, and Videoton. I honestly only knew Bate Borisov when the group’s were announced and that is why the Europa League essentially starts in January. Our opponents for tomorrow’s game is PAOK a team from Greece who finished second in their league last season and are currently 4th after 3 games. Greece is a scenic country and other than its great history all I know is that Chelsea should top this group with 6 wins in 6 starting off with the game against PAOK. 

Chelsea Team Preview

Sarri should field a second string side for the game with the likes of Hudson-Odoi, and Ampadu getting starts in Greece. Fabregas might feature while there are question marks over the availability of Loftus-Cheek. Sarri has stated that his whole squad should get chances starting this week and this game and the Europa League and League Cup in general are a great opportunity for our fringe players to stake a claim for a starting XI spot.

PAOK Team Preview

Razvan Lucescu should have a full squad to choose from for their game tomorrow. PAOK also managed to rest a couple of players at the weekend and it should be a great game and atmosphere for their supporters.

Starting XI Prediction 

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Time to start our Europa League campaign with a win and hopefully one that leads to the final and a trophy. COME ON CHELSEA!!!