The Champions League returns and Chelsea’s continued quest for European success begins with a home game against Bayer Leverkusen.
New manager Andre Villas-Boas has experienced European success with Porto and he will be looking to guide his new club to that much desired first Champions League. They start with what could be a tricky game against a German side led by formed Blues midfielder Michael Ballack.
Chelsea have not hit their explosive best so far this season despite picking up victories their performances have not been great as they adjust under the young Portuguese manager. Their squad is now looking a lot more youthful and the signing of Juan Mata could help Chelsea to European success.
The visitors to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday are in good form themselves. The 2001 Champions League finalists have lost just one of their opening five games in the Bundesliga and hammered FC Augsburg 4-1 at the weekend.
Considering Chelsea have not hit top form this season so far, this match might be a lot closer than people think and it seems that Leverkusen and Valencia are the teams that will challenge Chelsea in Group E, then it is a game that the Blues will want to win to establish themselves at the top of the group. In the other game, Valencia travel to Genk.
Andre Villas-Boas made the controversial decision to drop Fernando Torres for Chelsea’s victory over Sunderland, with Daniel Sturridge and Nicolas Anelka stepping into the side, with the Englishman in particular impressing.
The Portuguese boss could field basically the same side that won 2-1 at the Stadium of Light on Saturday except for the inclusion of Ramires, who is suspended and could see his place taken by Josh McEachran
Leverkusen are under new management like Chelsea and new boss Robin Dutt has got off to an impressive start. Michael Ballack is their key man but they have plenty of other dangerous players including Sidney Sam, Renato Augusto and Steffan Kiessling.
The visitors will look to pack the midfield and stop the likes of Juan Mata from playing, Michael Ballack will be key to that and if he and his team mates can frustrate Chelsea then they can get something from the game, but it will be very difficult.
However I reckon Chelsea should have too much power and should win, I tipping them to run out 2-0 winners.
By Ryan Bailey, @ryanbaileysport