Chelsea will play host to the Spanish team, Sevilla in the first match of the 2020/21 Champions League season. Both teams are in Group E, with the Russian team Krasnodar and French outfit, Stade Rennes completing the group. The match will be played at the Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night.
Chelsea is one of the lucky teams in the UEFA Champions League draw two weeks ago. They avoided most of the European giants like Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Juventus, Atletico Madrid, and PSG. Though, top-seeded Sevilla will be their biggest threat.
Chelsea team news
Frank Lampard’s Chelsea team are in the second year into his reign at the club. They have started the new Premier League season in a topsy-turvy fashion. In the first five fixtures, Chelsea won two and drew two matches, losing once to Liverpool. They currently sit eighth in the Premier League table.
Chelsea spent heavily in the summer ahead of the new season. They acquired exciting attacking talents Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, Kai Havertz, and well as defensive recruitments as left-back Ben Chilwell and center-back Thiago Silva.
The summer signings raised the expectations going into the new season. Predictably, Chelsea has been impressive in attack with both Kai Havertz, Timo Werner slotting seamlessly into the team, and combining to score goals.
Just as Chelsea produce the goals at the end of the pitch, the porous defense means they let in a lot of goals at the other end of the pitch with ease. This issue has become a recurring issue for the Frank Lampard team. Chelsea conceded 54 goals in the Premier League last season, the worst of any team in the top 10 teams. This season they have conceded nine already after five fixtures, making it 63 in 43 League matches for Lampard.
Lampard brought in Thiago Silva to lead the defense with his experience and skills. Edouard Mendy, a goalkeeper from Rennes was also brought in to provide competition to error-prone goalkeeper Kepa. They are yet to settle into the team.
A lack of discipline and organization in defending still plagues the team. There are issues of lack of transition during attack and defense, poor positional play, and awareness. Chelsea appears overtly vulnerable to attacks and set pieces.
Lampard needs to also work on his team to create a more compact system that can compress the space between the lines. This will help to reduce the vulnerability of the defense and the midfield from being over-run by opponents.
Sevilla team news
The Andalusian outfit, Sevilla is one of the best teams in Europe. The team managed by former Spain and Real Madrid, Julen Lopetegui are the current holders of the Europa League trophy. They narrowly lost to Bayern Munich in the UEFA Super Cup.
They added Moroccan goalkeeper Bono, defender Karim Rekik, left-back Acuna, wingers Suso, and Idrissi Oussama, forward Oscar Rodriguez. Midfielder Ivan Rakitic also returned from Barcelona having left in 2014.
Sevilla currently lies in the 12th position in the La Liga table after playing only four games. They however have two outstanding fixtures to close the gap later. They won both Cadiz and Levante, drew at Barcelona, and lost to Granada in their last league game before this fixture.
Chelsea vs Sevilla: Match preview and verdict
Chelsea has never met Sevilla in European football. However, Sevilla has secured consecutive three wins against English opponents in Europe. They won against Wolves and Manchester United on their way to Europa League victory last season.
Lampard will have a big squad to select from. Edouard Mendy is back in the squad after the minor injury. Kovacic will be expected to feature after missing the last game against Southampton. Left-back Marcos Alonso is on suspension for the red card against Bayern Munich.
Thiago Silva is expected to return. He was omitted from the squad for the last match due to exhaustion from playing in South America WC Qualifiers.
Werner will be hoping to continue with his hot streak in European football having score 7 in 11 appearances while at RB Leipzig.
CHELSEA POSSIBLE XI (4-2-3-1): Mendy Zouma, Thiago Silva, Chilwell, Azpicueta, Kante, Kovacic, Havertz, Mount, Pulisic, Werner.
Sevilla plays mostly an attacking 4-3-3 formation. They are very disciplined and organized defensively. They utilize the wing-backs a lot with Jesus Navas creating the most chances in the team. Their towering center-forward, Luuk De Jong is also dangerous in aerial threat and set-pieces alongside center-back, Diego Carlos, and Kounde.
They have a fairly full squad for the match with only defender, Kounde and winger Idrissi missing due to injury.
POSSIBLE LINE UP (4-3-3): Bono, Diego Carlos, Diego, Escudero, Jesus Navas, Fernando, Rakitic, Jordan, Lucas Ocampos, Suso, Luuk De Jong
With the players available for both teams, we are expecting an open and attacking game that will produce a lot of goals. Chelsea will need to do more to cope with the aerial threat posed by the Sevilla team especially during set-pieces.