Jose Mourinho will have been relieved to get the critics off his back for a little while after his side won at home to Sherwood’s struggling Villa, but the performance was far from emphatic and the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ has some way to go to convince everyone that Chelsea’s early season woes are all resolved. This trip to group G leaders Kiev will provide a much stiffer test and it will be interesting to see whether Hazard and Matic, both key to Chelsea’s success last season, remain benched for this game.
Dynamo Kiev’s first season in the Champions League since 2012/13 has started promisingly as they beat Maccabi Tel Aviv away and drew at home to Porto to leave them atop the group. They also drew at home to Porto in the 2012/13 group stages, beating Dinamo Zagreb, and losing 2-0 to PSG, which incidentally was their only defeat by more than one goal in their 10 Champions League home games since 2008/09, despite playing Barca, Inter, and Arsenal in this time. Indeed, they’ve scored in 12 of their last 14 Champions League home games and have proved a difficult team to travel to. We have Chelsea ranked as the ninth best side in Europe and Kiev’s record against sides ranked between 4th and 14th at home in the Champions League since 2003/04 is W1-D6-L3, with both teams scoring in nine of these matches and a pair of draws against Real Madrid included in these results.
Chelsea’s away record in the Champions League since 2012/13 is W5-D4-L5 and they’ve now won just two of their last nine on the road in Europe. Six of their last nine away in the Champions League had fewer than three goals, keeping only three clean sheets in these games and interestingly they only conceded two first-half goals in these matches compared to seven in the second half. According to our rankings, Kiev are currently the 32nd best side in Europe and Chelsea ‘s record on the road against teams ranked five places either side of them in the Champions League since 2008/09 is W1-D2-L1 as they failed to beat Galatasaray, Basel, and Bordeaux and all these games had Under 2.5 goals.
Kiev had been in excellent form in the league having won nine of their opening 10 games, keeping a clean sheet in their last six, but they were humbled 3-0 at home to title rivals Shakhtar on Friday evening.
Chelsea have been made favourites for this game but we’re going to need more evidence than a home win over Villa to trust them again so instead the draw looks a better option here in what we expect to be a tight affair. Kiev have drawn six of their last 10 at home to sides ranked similar to Chelsea in Europe, who themselves have drawn two of their last four against sides with a similar ranking to Kiev. Given Chelsea’s ‘unders’ trend overall on the road in Europe and against similar teams to Kiev, backing the draw and Under 2.5 goals at 16/5 also looks like value.
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