Chelsea journey to Austria today as the leaders of Champions League Group E, though unbeaten RB Salzburg are hot on their trail as the teams prepare to do battle at the Red Bull Arena. Graham Potter has yet to taste defeat with the Blues, though successive draws in the Premier League have dampened optimism slightly. Can Chelsea carve out a crucial result in Austria?
You can find our stats pack for this evening’s game below, complete with info on cards, corners, xG, shots, shots on target and more for RB Salzburg’s tussle with Chelsea. Hopefully, you’ll find our research of good use when surfing the bet builder markets later on. Check out my Stats Pack Guide for help with using the stats pack.
RB Salzburg have a stack of injuries to contend with at present and Fernando, Dijon Kameri, Oumar Diakite, Justin Omoregie, Nicolas Capaldo, Sekou Koita and Luka Sucic are all in the treatment room for the Austrians.
Benjamin Sesko and Noah Okafor should form a dangerous pair up front for the Red Bulls with Luka Susic floating in the spaces behind.
Wesley Fofana, N’Golo Kante and Reece James are all still absent for Chelsea, while defender Kalidou Koulibaly, who missed Saturday’s game against Manchester United, remains a doubt.
Kai Havertz started when Chelsea last played Salzburg in September and the German could come into the fray again this evening, especially after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s poor showing at the weekend.
RB Salzburg hold a two-point lead at the top of the Austrian Bundesliga, while their goal difference is a stagging +21 in the black. Unsurprisingly, Salzburg’s underlying stats make for impressive reading domestically, where the Red Bull has been notching 16.69 shots and 2.23 goals per 90.
In the Champions League, they have been racking up 13.3 attempts per game while conceding 13.8 at the other end, however. Salzburg only had four shots to Chelsea’s 17 when the teams met in London last month.
Chelsea have been making positive strides under Graham Potter, though they were outmanoeuvred in the open play xG stakes in each of their last three Premier League matches.
The Blues’ overall xG and shots for/against figures per 90 for the season in England are all relatively similar. In the Champions League, the Londoners have been more robust however, allowing opponents to muster just 5.3 shots per fixture on average. Chelsea have also been picking up 2.0 cards per game in the UCL.
Player Shots and Shots on Target
Wonderkid Benjamin Sesko (3.58 shots p/90) and his strike partner Noah Okafor (3.93 shots p/90) have been tearing defences to shreds in Austria and they’ve been averaging a healthy 2.5 and 2.0 shots per game on average in the Champions League respectively.
Luka Sucic, who is averaging 3.0 shots per appearance in the Champions League, could be a good option at longer odds in the shot markets this evening, while 19-year-old Danish midfielder Maurits Kjærgaard (1.2 shots per game in UCL) is also one to watch.
Armando Broja has been impactful off the bench for Chelsea this season, though the Albanian striker isn’t expected to start this evening. Instead, look to regular Champions League starter Mason Mount (2.05) and German Kai Havertz (2.02)
Mount has trumped his Premier League shot figures in the Champions League this season, where is averaging 2.5 shots per game, while Havertz has been racking up 1.5 attempts per runout in the competition.
Player Goals and Assists
Noah Okafor and Benjamin Sesko have lodged 13 goal contributions between them in the Austrian Bundesliga this season, though Swiss striker Okafor has been RB Salzburg’s go-to guy for goals in Europe.
The 22-year-old has scored three of Salzburg’s four goals in Group E and Okafor netted his team’s equalizer at Stamford Bridge in September.
Raheem Sterling remains Chelsea’s leading marksman in the Premier League with three goals, though the winger has now gone seven games in all competitions since his last strike. Sterling did find the net against Salzburg last month, however.
Five different Chelsea players have registered in the Champions League, though Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the only Blues player to have scored twice so far.
RB Salzburg Cards
21-year-old Strahinja Pavlovic hits hard at the back for RB Salzburg and the Serbian has been carded four times domestically and twice in the Champions League so far this season.
Croatian Luka Susic has also been cautioned four times in Austria and once in the Champions League, so keep an eye on the 20-year-old this evening. Just behind Susic, Lucas Gourna-Douath is also worth tracking.
The Frenchman has been committing 2.28 fouls per 90 in Austria this term and he has already been carded once in the Champions League despite starting just one game. Gourna-Douath should play at the base of Salzburg’s midfield today in Nicolas Capaldo’s absence.
Chelsea schemer Mason Mount has been fouled 1.93 times per 90 in the Champions League and tough nut Strahinja Pavlovic will stride out from the back to clatter him whenever he can this evening.
Jorginho (fouled 2.63 times per 90) will likely occupy the same spaces as card machine Luka Susic in Austria, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek (fouled 2.53 times per 90) will have Gourna-Douath in his face for most of today’s game. That battle is dripping with card potential.
Match-Ups to watch
Strahinja Pavlovic vs Mason Mount
Luka Susic vs Jorginho
Lucas Gourna-Douath vs Ruben Loftus-Cheek
Kai Havertz (2.53 fouls per 90) has played with a hot head for much of the season in England and the fiery German has been carded three times as a result. In midfield, Jorginho (2.00 fouls per 90) uses tactical and cynical fouls to break play up from time to time.
Ben Chilwell doesn’t feature on our list of Chelsea’s most-potent foulers in the Premier League, though the England international ranks joint-highest at the Blues for average fouls committed per Champions League match (1.7).
We’ve already tipped Strahinja Pavlovic to dish out some punishment this evening, though the Serbian centre-half could be on the end of some himself if Kai Havertz has his way.
Lucas Gourna-Douath (fouled 2.28 times per 90) tends to be a bit of a foul magnet in midfield and he should have Jorginho on his toes in Salzburg this evening.
Noah Okafor (fouled 1.36 times per 90) should run into Ben Chilwell when he uses the right channel for Salzburg later today and he could draw a booking from the Chelsea defender.
Match-Ups to watch
Kai Havertz vs Strahinja Pavlovic
Jorginho vs Lucas Gourna-Douath
Ben Chilwell vs Noah Okafor