Chelsea are level on points with Ajax and Valencia in Group H in the Champions League. The Blues know that it is a must-win game for them on Wednesday night when they travel to Valencia.
Frank Lampard’s men fought back in their draw against Ajax and would be looking to claim a spot in the knock-out stages of the Champions League with a two-goal win at the Mestalla.
Chelsea are heading into the game on the back of a narrow defeat to Manchester City on Saturday. However, there were many positives to be taken from the loss. N’Golo Kante’s return to the side has been a boost for Lampard, who can choose from the full squad.
On the other hand, Valencia started well under Albert Celades but since then, they have had their ups and downs.
This encounter is set to be crucial for both sides. However, Chelsea have a better head-to-head record against their Spanish rivals and will be looking to claim a win over them.
Winger Callum Hudson-Odoi missed the trip on Saturday with a hamstring injury and would be a doubt. Ross Barkley has an injury of late, while Antonio Rudiger and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are also expected to be out of the game due to injury.
Marco Van Ginkel has been out for quite a while with a knee injury and would not be a part of the game. His return to the team is unknown.
Since his move to London, Kepa has been the first-choice goalkeeper for the Blues. He would be aiming for a clean sheet and put the City loss behind.
This spot has been his for quite a long time and Azpilicueta would be leading from the back. In spite of James Reece’s good form of late, the skipper would start for sure and his experience would be much needed in a crucial encounter.
With Andreas Christensen out of favour, Zouma has started in the majority of the games this season. He is expected to retain his spot.
The Englishman did not have a good game on Saturday. Mahrez claimed City’s winning goal after sliding it home under Tomori’s legs. With limited options, Tomori is expected to start against Valencia.
He is expected to start ahead of Marcos Alonso. The left-back would be looking to improve his game and convince the manager.
After returning from injury, Kante was at his usual best against Manchester City and also scored the opening goal of the match. The Frenchman is a great asset to the team. He would be an undoubted starter.
Though he has been a revelation this season at Stamford Bridge, he had a quiet game on Saturday. The Italian would be looking to control the game. A crucial member of the squad, Jorginho is expected to start.
Playing alongside Kante and Jorginho would allow him to make forward runs freely and contribute immensely in the final third. He would start for sure.
With Pedro out of favour, Willian should get the nod ahead of other youngsters who have impressed this season. His pace would be useful to take on Valencia’s defence.
After a slow start to the season, Pulisic has done well lately and would look to continue his good form.
The in-form striker would be hoping to add to his goal tally. He should start this important game.