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Champions League preview: Valencia vs Chelsea

Valencia will entertain Chelsea at The Mestalla in Wednesday’s Champions League group stage clash. Group H has arguably been the most compelling since the opening matchday with Ajax, Valencia and Chelsea jostling for the top-two spots.

Frank Lampard’s side are presently equal on points (seven) with Ajax and Valencia respectively but they are third in the standings due to the head-to-head record which remains marginally inferior to their European counterparts.

A victory for Valencia on Wednesday would guarantee their spot in the last 16 of the elite competition and the same would be the case for the Blues. However, a draw won’t do any benefit for either team and their qualification prospects would only be decided on the final matchday.

Previous meeting:

The previous meeting between the sides was at Stamford Bridge in the first matchday where Valencia registered a 1-0 win. The Blues were the dominate side in terms of the possession but Los Che held their nerve and found the breakthrough through Rodrigo Moreno, who scored with a deft left-footed volley from a free-kick in the 74th minute. Ross Barkley had the chance to level the scores from the penalty spot three minutes from time but he fluffed his lines with his attempt hitting the woodwork.

Players to watch out for:

Rodrigo Moreno – Valencia: The Spaniard has not contributed regular goals in the current season and in fact, he has netted just twice across all competitions. Still, he has remained a vital figure in the frontline and has recently turned contributor with two assists since the beginning of November. His all-round play will certainly prove useful against the Blues, who despite their strong attacking prowess, possess a weakness in the defensive department. The Blues have kept just four clean sheets from 20 matches this season.

Christian Pulisic – Chelsea: Pulisic has proved a quality performer for the west London side of late and he has particularly excelled in the Premier League where he has contributed five goals from the past four games. He has yet to replicate the success in Europe but should provide an attacking threat against Los Che with his strong dribbling, quick link-up play and desire to make tireless runs into the box. Los Che need to keep a close eye on his movements, particularly with his last two goals from open play scored from the six-yard box.

Prediction:

Valencia 1-1 Chelsea

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