Struggling Chelsea will embark on mission improbable this evening when they attempt to overturn a two-goal first-leg deficit against Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals at Stamford Bridge.
With three defeats in three games, Frank Lampard’s second homecoming hasn’t quite gone to plan and new manager lethargy has replaced the bounce for the Blues so far. Real Madrid looked a cut above Chelsea in Madrid last week and Los Blancos are strong favourites to complete the job in London in this evening’s second leg.
As per the usual routine, I’ve assembled a stats pack for this Champions League showdown below which should equip you with everything you need to attack the bet builder markets with gusto. Take a glance at my Stats Pack Guide if you need some extra pointers.
Ben Chilwell was dismissed for a last-man foul in Madrid last week and the suspended defender should be replaced by Marc Cucurella at left-back this evening. Kalidou Koulibaly faces a spell on the sidelines with a hamstring issue, so Wesley Fofana and Thiago Silva could be deployed as a pair at the heart of the Blues’ backline.
Former Real Madrid employee Mateo Kovacic should start in midfield alongside Enzo Fernandez and N’Golo Kante, while Mykhailo Mudryk could be handed another opportunity to shine on the flank. Kai Havertz is a doubt up front and could miss out.
With Ferland Mendy still in the treatment room, Eduardo Camavinga could be favoured at left-back again this evening, with David Alaba or former Chelsea star Antonio Rudiger likely to start more centrally alongside Eder Militao.
Aurelien Tchouameni will hope to earn a start in midfield, though Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Federico Valverde were successfully deployed as a trio there in the first leg and Carlo Ancelotti could stick with that set-up at Stamford Bridge. Valverde could also be pushed further forward in place of Rodrygo, however.
Chelsea’s miserable results this season have been underpinned by some underwhelming supporting stats, particuarly in attack where they have been hitting a meagre 0.97 goals per 90 minutes. Since Frank Lampard’s re-arrival, the Blues have seen little improvement in that department, notching just once in 240 minutes of football, and that single strike was a massively deflected effort from Conor Gallagher (vs Brighton).
Chelsea’s defensive numbers had been decent, however, worrying for the Blues, their robustness at the back has also started to fade and they conceded a whopping 2.9 in xG at home to Brighton on Saturday just days after allowing Real to clock 2.3 xG in Madrid. Chelsea have also collected ten cards in three fixtures under Lampard, and the hosts are priced at 11/10 to pick up over 2.5 of them again later on.
Real Madrid had far too much class for Chelsea in last week’s first leg and Los Blancos mustered a searing ten attempts on target at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu from 18 shots overall. The European champions can be backed at 5/6 to clock five or more accurate attempts in the second leg.
Defensively, Real have generally been sound this season, conceding just 0.86 goals from an xG against of 0.92 per 90. However, they have kept only one clean sheet in four away fixtures in the Champions League this term. Despite their dominance, Carlo Ancelotti’s troops won just three corners in the first leg, matching Chelsea’s tally exactly, and that count could be low again this evening. Under 11.5 total corners looks like a solid coupon filler at 1/3 here.
Player Shots and Shots on Target
Chelsea found it difficult to lay a glove on Real Madrid last week from an attacking perspective, though Portuguese star Joao Felix made a decent fist of it, hitting two shots on target and three attempts overall in Spain, which accounted for almost half of the Blues’ total output (seven).
He doesn’t start so frankly, Chelsea’s shooting stats are woeful. Enzo Fernandez makes the graphic despite averaging just 0.09 shots on target p/90.
Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior routinely have defenders running scared in the Champions League and between them, that dynamic duo racked up eight attempts in the first leg, hitting the target five times combined. Benzema looks like decent value at 10/11 to hit at least two shots on target again in the second leg, while Vini Jr. will make plenty of bet builders at 4/11 in the 1+ SOT stakes.
Federico Valverde, who has been averaging 0.83 shots on target per 90 for Los Blancos in 2022/23, could also be smart business at 4/6 to register 1+ accurate attempts. The Uruguayan tested Kepa Arrizabalaga with a punt in Madrid last week.
Player Goals and Assists
It’s difficult to pinpoint where goals are likely to come from this Chelsea team and the Blues’ only strike in their last five assignments came from a wickedly-deflected Conor Gallagher punt against Brighton on Saturday.
With leading marksman Kai Havertz up top, you then have 5 defenders and 4 central midfielders to pick from.
Karim Benzema is a potent Champions League specialist and the veteran striker buried Real’s opener against Chelsea last week, netting for the fourth time in his last three appearances in the competition. The 35-year-old is fourth on the all-time goalscorer’s list in the UCL and he is generously priced at 13/10 to net his 91st goal in the tournament today.
Brazilian winger Vinícius Júnior also seems to save much of his best work for the continental stage and the 22-year-old claimed his tenth goal contribution in this season’s Champions League when he set up Marco Asensio in last week’s first leg. Junior, who is a slight doubt today, can be backed at 11/10 to either score or assist again at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea posted a possession figure of just 43.1% in last week’s quarter-final first-leg in Madrid and they followed that up with an even lower 42.7% when they hosted Brighton in the Premier League at the weekend.
The Blues could see less than half of the ball again this evening, though I still expect Enzo Fernandez to rack up some decent individual numbers. His teammates seem to seek out the Argentinean midfielder at every opportunity and Enzo played 93 passes in Spain a week ago. The 22-year-old is 6/4 to beat that target again today or 1/4 in the 70+ passes range if you’re after something safer.
The usual suspects in the distribution department should be to the fore again for Real Madrid at Stamford Bridge. Toni Kroos played 81 passes in the first leg, while his long-term partner in midfield Luka Modric clocked 74, and that pair could run the show again in the return fixture today.
Kroos is a slightly skinny 1/3 in the 70+ passes stakes today, while Modric is a more palatable 11/10 in the same market. Federico Valverde meanwhile, who managed 76 passes from a slightly withdrawn position last week, is of interest at 8/11 to beat a 50 passes target this evening.
Chelsea Cards and Fouls
In last week’s first-leg, Chelsea looked shaky on the flanks and right-back Reece James (one foul) and Ben Chilwell on the opposite side (red card) both toiled at times. James is worth a look to sin at least once again today, while the suspended Chilwell’s replacement, Marc Cucurella, could be an option to consider at 2/5 in the same space.
In midfield, the energetic N’Golo Kante, who committed two fouls in Madrid, is priced at 3/10 in the 1+ fouls department today. The 32-year-old should have plenty of defensive work to get through against his composed counterparts in white.
Vinicius Junior’s blend of skill and speed is incredibly difficult to combat and the exciting Brazilian winger has been fouled 4.03 times per 90 this term. The 22-year-old was fouled twice again last week and his altercations with Reece James could draw intervention from referee François Letexier later on.
On the other flank, Federico Valverde’s running power should unsettle Marc Cucurella, who rarely convinces from a defensive standpoint. A little deeper, Toni Kroos – who was fouled twice in the first leg – should have the bustling N’Golo Kante for close company again in London later on.
Match-Ups to watch
Reece James vs Vinicius Junior
Conor Gallagher vs Federico Valverde
N’Golo Kante vs Toni Kroos
Real Madrid Cards and Fouls
Tough-tackling centre-half Eder Militao was right in the thick of the action last week, committing two fouls and picking up a yellow card for his efforts against Chelsea. The 25-year-old is priced at 10/11 to commit at least two more fouls later on, while another booking at 5/2 could also be an avenue to explore.
Stand-in left-back Eduardo Camavinga performed solidly in the main in Madrid a week ago, though the Frenchman did foul once and he is 2/9 to match that output today. Vinicius Junior meanwhile, who added two more fouls to his tally for the campaign in the first leg, piques my interest at 4/5 to commit 2+ indiscretions again in London when he revisits his head-to-head with Reece James.
Joao Felix, who was fouled once in last week’s first leg, will hope to put his silky skills to good use again in today’s return fixture off the bench and the 23-year-old has the technique to draw mistimed challenges from Real enforcer Eder Militao this evening.
Marauding right-back Reece James (fouled 1.34 times p/90) could have his forward momentum curtailed by serial ankle nibbler Vinicius Junior down the Chelsea right.
Match-Ups to watch
Eder Militao vs Kai Havertz
Eduardo Camavinga vs Conor Gallagher
Vinicius Junior vs Reece James
MY Bet Builder Picks of the pack
It’s an uphill struggle for Chelsea, but there’s still plenty to play for in this tie. That makes it a great game for a bet builder, and you can check out my selections below.