The Champions League kicks off for another season and Chelsea celebrate their return to Europe’s top club competition as they play host to Azerbaijan’s Qarabag. The relative minnows have made a trip to London before but that was in the Europa League when they faced Tottenham at White Hart Lane.
Tonight will prove something of a sterner test as Antonio Conte takes charge of the Premier League champions in European competition for the first time. Some felt that their continental exodus played a part in helping then Blues to the title last season, so it will be interesting to see how they compete on both fronts this time around.
They come into this game off the back of three straight league wins, not bad for a team that was supposedly in crisis on the first weekend of the season. Those victories have seen Chelsea move up to third in the table just a point off of both Manchester clubs.
Alvaro Morata is already looking like an astute purchase with three goals in his opening four league matches and the Spanish international will be looking to make it back to back Champions League successes this season after winning the 2017 edition of the competition with Real Madrid.
Last weekend he scored the opening goal as Chelsea were made to work for all three points at the King Power Stadium. Another header was the order of the day as the former Juventus forward showed just how much of an aerial threat he can be.
Leicester old boy N’Golo Kante made it 2-0 and although England international Jamie Vardy halved the deficit to set up something of a grand stand finish, the 2017 Premier League champions would end up getting the better of those from the year before.
New signings Danny Drinkwater and Davide Zappacosta could be in line for their debuts after being on the bench on Saturday while Eden Hazard could also be in line for a first start of the season after suffering a broken foot while on international duty with Belgium.
The last time Chelsea were in the Champions League they were knocked out by PSG in the Round of 16 and manager Antonio Conte will certainly be looking to get further than that this time around. I cannot see anything other than a home win this evening.
Here is what social media thinks will happen
Time for scientific #ChampionsLeague polls now:
— Dan Tracey (@dantracey1983) September 11, 2017