Date: Tuesday 25th October 2022
Venue: Red Bull Arena
Kick-off: 17:45 BST
It’s back to the Champions League tonight for Chelsea and a trip to Austria for the away leg against Red Bull Salzburg. We currently top Group E, ahead of tonight’s opponents by a single point and given our start to the competition this year, we’re in a better position than we could have been.
We come into tonight’s game having drawn at the weekend against Manchester United, in a game where we were the poorer side for 35 minutes. I keep saying it but Reece James leaves sizeable boots to fill and unsurprisingly, we haven’t got a pair to match. Credit to Potter for his early intervention hooking Cucurella, who isn’t really impressing after his first few appearances. The change, and introduction of Kovacic had an immediate impact and a draw was about the right result in the end. Never great to drop points in the final minute, obviously, but with Sterling morphing into SWP, Aubameyang going off without ever looking threatening and our goal only coming from a Jorginho penalty because McTominay assumed United always get away with the bear-hug in the box, we were probably fortunate to be a goal up in any case.
Salzburg are still unbeaten in the group, in fact, they’re unbeaten in their last 16 in all competitions and maintained that with a draw against Sturm Graz at the weekend. They haven’t lost at home in Europe since December 2020, whilst we lost early in the group stage this season, to Dinamo Zagreb. Since our draw at home to today’s opponents however, we’ve had back-to-back wins against AC Milan but that 5-0 aggregate scoreline will only be worth anything if we finish the group with as much conviction.
We’re unbeaten in eight since Potter took over, although we are prone to draws and our clean sheets came to an end on Saturday. We’re far from guaranteed in the group and RB Salzburg proved a difficult side at Stamford Bridge, they’re young, enthusiastic and they’ll fancy their chances against us tonight.
Going into today’s game, RB Salzburg manager Matthias Jaissle, says “We don’t feel any pressure, we are just looking forward to the match,” the 34-year-old German told a press conference. Our boys have performed really impressively so far, beyond what could be expected. We are big outsiders again, of course. We want to play brave and bold football though and frighten the great Chelsea a little. We know though we are playing an absolute top team that won the competition in 2021.”
Chelsea manager Graham Potter, meanwhile, says “It looks really close to me. Salzburg are a really good side, especially at home. We saw their quality at Stamford Bridge. We have to fight, match their motivation and intensity and then we have to try to play our football.
We have to try to do better as a team, improve our attacking play as a team, and then individuals can do better.”
For RB Salzburg, Omoregie (Hamstring), Fernando (thigh), Diakite (ACL), Capaldo (knee), Koita (thigh) and Kameri (shoulder) are all expected to miss out. Sucic (adductor) is a doubt, although Ulmer should be available.
For Chelsea, N’Golo Kante (hamstring), Wesley Fofana and Reece James (both knee) are injured. Kalidou Koulibaly (knee) has also not travelled due to injury.
RB SALZBURG (Possible line-up): Kohn; Dedic, Solet, Pavlovic, Ulmer; Kjaergaard, Gourna-Douath, Seiwald; Sucic; Okafor, Sesko
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Kepa; Azpilicueta, Chalobah, Silva, Chilwell, Gallagher, Jorginho, Loftus-Cheek, Pulisic, Havertz, Aubameyang
Chelsea 1-1 RB Salzburg (14th September 2022)
CURRENT FORM (CL)
RB SALZBURG: DDWD
- This is only Chelsea’s third time playing in Austria before.
- Chelsea have won their past two games in the Champions League, beating AC Milan home and away.
- The last time Chelsea won three games in a row in the Champions League by two goals or more was in 2013.
- Chelsea have only faced eight opposition shots on target so far.
Sportsmole: RB Salzburg 1-2 Chelsea