Chelsea avoided the likes of PSG and Bayern Munich in the Champions League group stage draw, but found themselves grouped with a dangerous Sevilla side from Pot One, as well as Rennes and Krasnodar.
Frank Lampard’s men had an opportunity to assert their dominance on the group early on when they welcomed Sevilla to Stamford Bridge in their first group game on Tuesday, but were made to battle it out for a point. Indeed, it was a reminder – in case they needed it – that they will be pushed all the way in Group E and will need to produce more convincing displays if they are to safely progress.
Rennes were unfortunate not to pick up all three points on Tuesday as well, as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Krasnodar. The hosts dominated proceedings and while they weren’t able to secure the win, they proved that they will also be a threat in Group E.
With all teams sat on one point after the opening round of fixtures in this competitive group, we at 90min have come up with a combined XI from the teams in the group…
Edouard Mendy – Chelsea (GK) – It just had to be that Mendy would be drawn in the same group as his former club, didn’t it? The Chelsea shot-stopper made a couple of decent saves on his return to the side against Sevilla on Tuesday, keeping the score at 0-0. Looks a smart piece of business for the Blues, but Lampard will be hopeful he can stay clear of any injuries. Just look at what happened against Southampton in his absence…
Jesus Navas – Sevilla (RB) – Seriously, how is Jesus Navas 34? The Spaniard, who edges out Reece James for the right back position, is continuing to perform at the highest level and remains a key figure in this Sevilla side. Starting every game so far this campaign, Navas provides the width down the right and already has two assists to his name in 2020/21.
Jules Kounde – Sevilla (CB) – Currently unavailable for selection after testing positive for the coronavirus, Kounde could make his return when his side host Rennes next Wednesday. Still only 21, Kounde plays with real maturity and composure, with his displays helping Julen Lopetegui’s men to Europa League glory last term. It was hardly a surprise to see him linked with a number of top clubs during the summer.
Thiago Silva – Chelsea (CB) – Has he been perfect since his move to Chelsea? No, not exactly. But putting his odd mistake or two to the side, he has brought some much-needed composure and leadership to the Blues’ backline. Experience is key in any team, and that is no different in this lineup either, so Silva takes up his place in the heart of the defence.
Ben Chilwell – Chelsea (LB) – Chilwell has settled in quickly at Chelsea since making the move from Leicester. There are still some question marks over his defensive positioning and awareness when out of possession, but nonetheless the England international has made a bright start to life in west London.
N’Golo Kante – Chelsea (CM) – There are few players in world football who have the ability to read the game as well as Kante. Constantly looking to sniff out danger, Kante works tirelessly in the centre of the park to ensure his opponents are unable to assert any control.
Eduardo Camavinga – Rennes (CM) – 17-year-old Camavinga has a very bright future ahead of him. Not only is he already a key figure in the heart of this Rennes side, Camavinga also now has three caps at senior level for France. He’s that good.
Kai Havertz – Chelsea (CAM) – Havertz has shown flashes of real brilliance since his big money move to Chelsea, but the German is still finding his feet somewhat in west London. Sure, his stats make for pleasant reading for an attacking midfielder – four goals and two assists in seven games so far – but Havertz will now be looking to deliver on a more consistent basis as the weeks go by.
Hakim Ziyech (FW) – Look, we could have selected Christian Pulisic here, but Ziyech is not only simply ridiculously talented, but he also has experience of dominating on the Champions League stage. While he is yet to really show exactly what he can bring to this Chelsea team, Ziyech is now back and will be desperate to hit the ground running once he is eased into the starting lineup.
Timo Werner – Chelsea (FW) – Werner finally got off the mark in the Premier League against Southampton with a well-taken brace, but was unable to back this up against Sevilla on Tuesday. Has looked bright at points, but has often found himself out in wide positions – which is where he is much less dangerous and unable to really pose a threat in front of goal. But Werner possesses outstanding quality and it will surely only be a matter of time before he begins to prove his worth on a regular basis.
Lucas Ocampos – Sevilla (FW) – It’s taken Ocampos a while to find the right home for him to play his best football, but he has found that at Sevilla. The Argentine finished the 2019/20 season with 17 goals and five assists, but only has one goal to his name so far this term. More generally, Ocampos has become a vital member of this Sevilla side, producing the necessary quality when on the ball as well as acting as the first line of the press when out of possession.
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