Qarabag vs Chelsea – Wednesday, November 22, 17:00GMT/18:00CET – Bakı Olimpiya Stadionu, Baku Azerbaijan
Qarabag continue to be the X-factor in Group C that includes Roma, Chelsea and Atlético Madrid. Thanks to the three top sides this group has been labelled the group of death of this year’s Champions League season.
With all the big-name teams in this group, Qarabag was almost treated as an afterthought by many agencies that can be found on free bets today. Roma, Chelsea and Atlético were all expected to collect their six points against the Azeri upstart easily and then decide the standings in the group among themselves.
The reality, however, has been different and Qarabag managed to draw Atlético twice severely damaging the Spanish giant’s chances to advance from Group C. But the two games are also a warning to the likes of Chelsea, who despite beating the Azeri side 6-0 on matchday 1, will have to be warned that travelling to Baku is not easy. Despite a set of difficult EPL fixtures, Chelsea will, therefore, play a strong line-up.
Hence, Group C, the group of death, is not just a concert of the giant clubs but is decided by the performance against a small upstart club from Azerbaijan. As a result, Chelsea will take this game dire and will try to get a decisive result to secure one of the two top places in the group.
Qarabag vs Chelsea – Player to look out for:
Dino Ndlovu #9 – Qarabag
South African forward Dino Ndlovu is one of Qarabag’s biggest stars. Still, without a goal in the group stage of the competition, Ndlovu scored four goals in six Champions League qualification games to guide his side to a historic first Champions League group stage participation. Qarabag will now look at their South African star to provide the goals on Wednesday as Qarabag host another big name in European football.
N’Golo Kanté #7 – Chelsea
French midfielder N’Golo Kanté is Chelsea’s midfield motor. The 26-year-old was signed from Leicester City in the summer of 2016 to provide Antonio Conte with an anchor in midfield. Kanté, who was the critical player in Leicester’s surprise championship, did exactly what he was brought in for providing Chelsea with stability and creativity in midfield guiding the London-based club to the English title last season.
Qarabag vs Chelsea – Match Stats
- Matchday 1 was Qarabag’s harsh introduction to Champions League reality as the Azeri were defeated 6-0 by Chelsea.
- Qarabag are fourth in Group C on two points, one behind Atlético.
- Qarabag must win to stay in contention for a top-two finish but will be confirmed in fourth if they lose and Atlético win.
- Chelsea have seven points, one fewer than leaders AS Roma who beat them last time out. The English champions are through with a victory, or a draw if Atlético do not win at home to the Italian side.
- This is Qarabağ’s second home game against a Premier League club and fourth match with English opponents overall. They lost 1-0 at home to Tottenham Hotspur FC in the UEFA Europa League group stage on 26 November 2015, having also gone down 3-1 away.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Qarabag vs Chelsea 0-2
Qarabag vs Chelsea – Possible Lineups
Kanibolotsky – Agolli, Yunuszade, Rzezniczak, Medvedev – Garayev, Michel, Richard – Madatov, Ndlovu, Quintana
Coach: Gurban Gurbanov
Courtois – Cahill, Christensen, Rüdiger – Alonso, Bakayoko, Kanté, Fabregas, Zappacosta – Hazard – Morata
Coach: Antonio Conte
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and social media editor at Bundesliga.com. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which will be available in print soon. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.