Chelsea vs Qarabag preview, betting tips and prediction: Visiting minnows to offer little resistance at Stamford Bridge
Chelsea to win 4-0 @ 13/2 with Coral
Chelsea with a -4 handicap @ 9/4 with Coral
Chelsea to score over 3.5 goals @ 17/10 with Coral
There are varying levels of difficulty on Matchday 1 of the Champions League for English clubs this season, and Chelsea will be very pleased with their opening assignment. Azerbaijani qualifiers will come to Stamford Bridge with little to no hope of springing a surprise. Just finding real value in backing the Blues has been tough, but it will not get any easier for the visitors who will also face Roma and Atletico Madrid this year.
Chelsea will be keen to put on a show after spending the last year watching the Champions League from the sidelines. They hasve traditionally had no problems with games like this and should find it very easy to come away with three points. With Eden Hazard returning from a serious ankle injury and Alvaro Morata in great form for club and country, there should be very little standing in their way in this one. For Antonio Conte, it will be a test of his attacking mentality, because he likes to keep it safe in midfield; with eleven Qarabag players almost certainly behind the ball at all times, there will be more cause to relax that a little bit. Expect Cesc Fabregas to start, with Willian ahead of Pedro, because technical players will need to be at their best to open up their opposition. As always, an early goal is vital because making Qarabag chase the game will open up spaces to pick them off.
Key man: Eden Hazard
Because this is going to be such a one-sided affair it seems, Chelsea may not have the space to counter attack that they usually like. If Hazard is fit and able to start, he will be perfect for this game because of his close control will unlock the defence, as will his runs inside allowing Alonso to get forward on the overlap.
It will be tougher for Hazard because he will have to play in front of the defence, but if Chelsea get as many men forward as possible from the get go on this game there will be no problems. Backing Hazard to score anytime will be a safe bet, and Chelsea should have no problems getting a crucial advantage in terms of goal difference ahead of big games with Roma and Atletico Madrid in the weeks to come.