Chelsea face off against Valencia in the Champions League on Wednesday, in what will be a key tie to determine the teams that might qualify for the knockout stages of the competition.
Both sides are currently on 7 points along with Ajax in Group H. A win for either side could take them one step closer to getting to the next stage in the competition.
The Spanish side have an injury crisis ahead of their game against Chelsea, which could possibly see the Blues be the favourites in the game. Chelsea lost at home to Valencia, but have been in good form lately.
Let’s take a look at 3 key battles in the game between Valencia and Chelsea:
Valencia vs Chelsea: 3 Key Battles
#1 Dani Parejo vs N’Golo Kante
Dani Parejo is perhaps the most important player for Valencia as he is an influential player in the middle of the park. The central midfielder is the joint top-scorer for Valencia in the league this season, scoring 6 goals, while also mustering 2 assists.
The Spaniard can control the tempo of the game, spray passes from midfield and also score key goals for his club.
He will have a tough task on Wednesday night as he will be up against French midfielder N’Golo Kante, who has returned to the Chelsea team after missing a few games due to injury.
Kante scored over the weekend for Chelsea against Manchester City, but it’s his contribution in defending will be key for the Blues.
#2 Daniel Wass vs Christian Pulisic
United States attacker Christian Pulisic has impressed in the last few weeks after a slow start to life in England. The winger, who has predominantly played on the left, will be up against Valencia right-back Daniel Wass on Wednesday.
The Danish international is strong in the air, while being defensively brilliant with his tackling and aggression.
Pulisic’s direct running and dribbling could be a worry for the leaky Valencia backline.
#3 Eliaquim Mangala vs Tammy Abraham
Former Manchester City defender Eliaquim Mangala returned to Valencia in the summer transfer window, after spending one season on loan at the Spanish club.
Mangala played his first game of the season over the weekend against Real Betis, a game which Valencia lost.
The defender is in the team due to an injury to experienced centre-back Ezequiel Garay. Mangala will have the tough task of defending Tammy Abraham, who has been in sensational form this season.
Abraham’s movement in the box, as well as his clever finishing, could catch Mangala and the Valencia defence off guard.