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Frank Lampard has been wrestling with the balance between defence and attack and though more solid in their last two outings against Sevilla and Man Utd, his team were unable to be a menace to their opponents’ backlines in goalless stalemates.
The Blues have now drawn five of six games in all competitions, and Krasnodar would be satisfied to nick another point after taking one away in Rennes from their opener.
However, Chelsea are a step up in quality and after a seven-game unbeaten run, the Russian outfit have seen their form tail off in October as they’ve lost two of four matches and taken a single win.
Their defence isn’t watertight either as they’ve conceded in all but one of their last 12 appearances, with both teams scoring in nine of the past 11, so after a tough couple of fixtures Chelsea ought to respond here.
With a tight schedule there’ll surely be some changes, though Lampard will want to make sure of the points here against theoretically the group’s weakest opponents.
The defence shouldn’t see many switches, but further forwards Kai Havertz and Timo Werner could be given the night off. Kepa and Billy Gilmour are the club’s only injury concerns, while returning players have widened the field of options.
Hakim Ziyech has come off the bench in each of Chelsea’s last three matches and should start here, Christian Pulisic and Callum Hudson-Odoi offer options on the other flank, while Mason Mount and one of Tammy Abraham or Olivier Giroud up front ensures the starting eleven isn’t short on output.
Abraham has seen limited game time this season but he has in fact scored in two of his three starts, as well as chipping in with three assists, so will be disappointed if he doesn’t get the nod here.
Handicap Draw +1 Goals
After much criticism of his defence, Lampard will want his team to control this game and will want a third consecutive clean sheet to ease nerves in that department.
However, after shoring his side up with a back three last time out against United, he’ll likely revert to 4-2-3-1. He’ll know that his side have the quality to take an opportunity or two against a defence that keeps few clean sheets, so a narrow but professional win is on the cards.
That’s typically been the way with Chelsea on the road in Europe, where they’re W7-D3-L1 since 2018/19 as the sole defeat was inflicted last term by eventual champions Bayern.
However, six of those victories came by one-goal margins, including four that finished 1-0, despite weak opposition for the most part as these were garnered versus PAOK, Bate Borisov, Malmo, Slavia Prague, Lille and Ajax.