Interim manager Rafa Benitez has experience of this competition, having won it with Inter and finished as runner-up with Liverpool, and he will be desperate to get the sceptical fans onside with a good performance in Japan.
The first hurdle is a match against North American champions Monterrey, and the Blues are heavy 4/9 (1.44) favourites with Paddy Power to get the ball rolling with a victory.
The Mexicans beat Asian champions Ulsan in the previous round to reach the semi-finals, but are not expected to go much further, at odds of 5/1 (6.00).
Five of the last 10 matches involving either of these teams have ended in stalemate, and you can get odds of 3/1 (4.00) on them cancelling each other out in normal time here.
After a slow start to life under the Spaniard, Chelsea have won their last two matches under Benitez by an aggregate scoreline of 9-2, and even Fernando Torres has shown signs of hitting form.
With the former Liverpool striker supported by the likes of Juan Mata, Oscar, Eden Hazard and Victor Moses, the Londoners should have too much for the side with the second worst defensive record in the top half of the Mexican league.
Considering Los Rayados have only kept one clean sheet in their last 12 matches, odds of 13/10 (2.30) seem very generous for the European champions to overcome a one-goal handicap and win this match.
To be fair though, Chelsea’s backline has hardly been impenetrable recently, and has conceded at least once in each of the last three matches.
With this in mind, it could be worth having a bet on Aldo De Nigris to hit the back of the net against the Blues, considering the Mexican international has scored twice in his last four outings.
The forward is one of the first names on the team sheet for Victor Vucetich’s side, and is not to be missed at handy 4/1 (5.00) to score anytime today. Chelsea should wrap up a comfortable victory but this price looks very tempting for those wanting higher returns.
|Chelsea (-1) to win at 13/10 (2.30) with Paddy Power
||Aldo De Nigris to score anytime at 4/1 (5.00) with Paddy Power
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Al Hain-Cole is a Liverpool fan, experienced tipster and avid follower of European football. He specialises in accumulators and if you would like to read more from Al you can follow him on Twitter here.