Chelsea’s Champions League ‘holy grail’ (copyright Sky Sports News) takes them to Valencia on Wednesday for a match that, if we are to learn anything from the Blues’ results so far this season, looks set to be another entertaining clash.
Valencia are priced up at 9/5 for a home win, Chelsea are at 29/20 and the draw is at 9/4, but I like the look of over 2.5 goals at even money.
The trip to the Mestalla is Andre Villas-Boas’ first Champions League away game as a manager and with the 33 year-old lacking in experience despite his astonishing record, it is difficult to gauge how he will approach such assignments. Yet if he is to adopt the tactics Chelsea took to Old Trafford, where an incredibly open game led to a 3-1 defeat to Manchester United, then goals could once again be on the cards.
Five of Chelsea’s six Premier League games so far have had over 2.5 goals (and half of them have contained over 3.5 goals). Both teams have scored in on five occasions, which is most unlike the Chelsea we have come to know since Jose Mourinho pitched up in 2004 and outlawed goals against, a trend his successors – even Avram Grant (no, really) – managed to continue.
This season, though, Chelsea are struggling to keep clean sheets. As well as the three conceded at Old Trafford, the Blues have let in goals against West Brom, Sunderland, Norwich and Swansea, a state of affairs that would have given Mourinho palpitations.
This can be explained away by a combination of Villas-Boas still transmitting his ideas to his new charges and the fact that the Portuguese boss is yet to decide on his best eleven (a note to the press: it no longer includes Frank Lampard, get over it). While this is still the case I’ll be on goals, especially considering Valencia’s start in La Liga.
Los Che’s three home games have seen 12 goals scored, including a pulsating 2-2 draw with Barcelona last time out which, like Chelsea’s trip to United, could have finished any score. Roberto Soldado, 5/1 to open the scoring and 7/5 to score at any time, has five goals to his name this season and will fancy his chances against a Chelsea rearguard that looks far from convincing. Over 2.5 goals is even money, while over 3.5 goals is a rather big 5/2.
Chelsea’s two previous trips to Valencia in 2007 and 2008 finished in 2-1 away wins – a repeat is a 33/4 shot. Mercurial winger Juan Mata also returns to his former club and is 9/1 to open the scoring and 5/2 to notch at any time.
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