·4 October 2022
·4 October 2022
Chelsea’s path to redemption in the Champions League begins at Stamford Bridge to current Group E toppers AC Milan on Wednesday.
Following an abysmal 1-0 defeat at Dinamo Zagreb in their Champions League curtain-raiser, the Blues sacked Thomas Tuchel and brought in Graham Potter as his replacement.
Unfortunately for the former Brighton & Hove Albion manager, his touchline debut in Europe’s most prestigious competition did not pan out as expected.
Despite taking the lead through Raheem Sterling, Noah Okaford’s 75th-minute equaliser helped Red Bull Salzburg hold Chelsea to a 1-1 draw at the Bridge.
Nailed to the bottom of the standings, the Premier League heavyweights can ill-afford another negative result against the most high-profile opposition in this group if they’re to rekindle their knock-out hopes.
However, Milan’s impressive 2022/23 start will likely require Chelsea to play out of their skins to return to winning ways in Europe.
Except for a 2-1 home defeat to fellow Serie A title hopefuls Napoli on the eve of the international break, Stefano Pioli’s lads have gone unbeaten in all nine remaining competitive outings this term (W6, D3).
Milan’s stellar form stretches far beyond the league borders as they bounced back from a 1-1 draw at Salzburg on day one by humbling Zagreb 3-1 at home last time out.
Keen to make it out of the Champions League group stages for the first time since 2013/14, the seven-time European champions will be out to prove their continental credentials on the toughest Group E travel.
Chelsea will take the field in high spirits after overhauling a 1-0 deficit in a morale-boosting 2-1 win at Crystal Palace in Saturday’s all-London Premier League clash.
There’s more encouragement for the Blues as they’ve only lost two of their 13 home meetings with Italian adversaries across major European competitions (W8, D3).
On top of that, the Pensioners have turned Stamford Bridge into a fortress this season, going unbeaten in all four competitive home matches (W2, D2) despite failing to keep a clean sheet on each occasion.
September’s international helped Milan regroup following the abovementioned loss to Napoli and claim a dramatic 3-1 win at Empoli on Saturday.
Yet even though the Rossoneri haven’t lost a single away match since mid-April (W5, D3), they have every reason to feel concerned, having won just one of their 20 European fixtures on English soil (D7, L12).
But some traditions are made to be broken, as witnessed by the fact Milan have already amassed as many points (four) across their opening two Group E games as they did in all six group matches last season.
Chelsea (4-3-1-2): Kepa Arrizabalaga; Reece James, Wesley Fofana, Thiago Silva, Ben Chilwell; Mason Mount, Mateo Kovacic, Conor Gallagher; Kai Havertz; Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Raheem Sterling.
AC Milan (4-2-3-1): Ciprian Tatarusanu; Sergio Dest, Pierre Kalulu, Fikayo Tomori, Fode Ballo-Toure; Sandro Tonali, Ismael Bennacer; Rade Krunic, Charles De Ketelaere, Rafael Leao; Olivier Giroud.
And if you are interested in attending a future Champions League game, see our Champions League tickets page for more information.
Milan’s growing injury list is likely to hand Chelsea the upper hand in this fixture, yet Pioli still boasts plenty of quality options in all areas of the field.
With homecoming stars Fikayo Tomori and Olivier Giroud poised to prove the Blues they were wrong for cutting them lose, we expect the Italians to pick up a point at the very least.
Chelsea 1-1 AC Milan
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