Valencia - Chelsea Preview: Andre Villas-Boas' men looking for third consecutive win at the Mestalla
Hosts hoping to eradicate their poor form against British sides, with just two wins from 10 games, whilst they have not beaten an English team since 2002
By Ryan Benson
Barragan, Rami, Victor Ruiz, Mathieu
Pablo, Parejo, Piatti
Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry, Cole
Meireles, Ramires, Malouda
Mata, Torres, Anelka
Diego Alves could return as he is the designated Champions League goalkeeper, meanwhile David Albelda, Pablo Hernadez and Roberto Soldado could all be back in the starting XI after being rested during the 1-0 defeat at Sevilla on Saturday.
The visitors are also doing well on the injury front as Daniel Sturridge and Michael Essien remain their only players definitely ruled out.
Fernando Torres will likely start following goals in consecutive league matches and with his three-match ban not counting for European games, whilst Juan Mata looks set to retain his place in the team against his former club.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- Valencia won their first European title, the Cup Winners' Cup, in 1980, a competition Chelsea won nine years earlier.
- The Premier League side have only failed to reach the last eight of the Champions League once in the last five years. That was the 2009-10 edition. when they were knocked out in the round of 16 by Inter.
- The best Valencia have done in Europe’s elite competition in the last 10 years is reach the quarter-finals twice, whilst they have also failed to get out of the group stages on two occasions.
- The Spanish side have won just two of their last 10 European matches against British opposition, beating Liverpool at Anfield 1-0 in 2002 and a 3-0 home win against Rangers in last season’s Champions League.
- Andre Villas-Boas’ side have fared little better, winning just three of their last 10 matches against Spanish opposition, with one of those victories coming at the Mestalla back in 2007.
- In the four meeting between the two sides, the Spaniards are yet to pick up a win.
- In their two previous meetings at the Mestalla, Chelsea have won 2-1, whilst both of their previous matches at Stamford Bridge ended in draws.
- If John Terry (right) plays on Wednesday and Frank Lampard again fails to get on the pitch, the Chelsea captain will becoming their all-time appearance leader in Europe with 86.
- Should he play, David Albelda will move joint second with Miguel Angel Angulo in Valencia’s all-time European appearance records. Santiago Canizares is the current leader on 97.
- Valencia’s biggest win Europe came last season with the 6-1 win over Bursaspor, whilst Chelsea’s came back in 1971 with a 13-0 win over Luxembourg side Jeunesse Hautcharage (now known as UN Kaerjeng).
|Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Sign up with bet365 for a free bet up to £200|
|Sign up to Paddy Power for £250 in free bets|
|Sign up today with Coral and get a £50 FREE bet - no strings attached!|
|Sign up today with BetVictor and get a £25 FREE BET!|
|Sign up with Betway for a £50 free bet!|
Top 3 Predictions
Valencia 1-2 Chelsea FC
- 25.57 %
Valencia 1-3 Chelsea FC
- 19.98 %
Valencia 0-2 Chelsea FC
- 18.61 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||6 Dec 2011||Chelsea FC 3 - Valencia 0|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||28 Sep 2011||Valencia 1 - Chelsea FC 1|
|19 Dec 2013||Valencia 1 - Gimnástic 0||ESPC|
|15 Dec 2013||Atlético de Madrid 3 - Valencia 0||LIGA|
|12 Dec 2013||Valencia 1 - Kuban 1||EL|
|8 Dec 2013||Gimnástic 0 - Valencia 0||ESPC|
|1 Dec 2013||Valencia 3 - Osasuna 0||LIGA|
|12||John Obi Mikel||Midfielder|
With Valencia at home, it is they who will be expected to take the game to their opponents, particularly given their fairly disappointing draw at Genk in their last fixture, and the striker is the man they will be hoping can force the issue.
Sevilla’s Alvaro Negredo was the only Spaniard to outscore Soldado in La Liga last term and the twice-capped Spain international’s start to this season shows he means business, notching five goals in his opening three matches. Terry and Co. will have to do their best to cut off any supply to the hitman as he has more than enough ability to punish them if they falter.
Not quite the returning of the prodigal son, but Valencia was very much the place where the attacking midfielder made his name and he is extremely grateful to them for that.
The intelligent Real Madrid youth product will be the man Chelsea look to in order to break through the Valencia backline, and with the ability the hosts have in attacking areas, the Premier League side will need to create as many chances as they can.
The result of this match will be determined by which Valencia turn up. If they play as they did when they drew 2-2 with Barcelona, then Chelsea will be in for a long night. However, if they perform as they did against Sevilla at the weekend, the visitors will be in the ascendency.
Both sides will probably be pleased with a draw as they will both remain unbeaten in the group stage, but the onus is on the hosts to make the most of the match.