Valencia v Chelsea: Blues can make hay against Los Che
Dave Tindall is here to preview the Champions League clash between Valencia and Chelsea on Wednesday evening...
Valencia v Chelsea Wednesday, 17:55 BT Sport 3
Home record good but Valencia vulnerable in Europe
A quick check of La Liga shows Valencia dawdling in 10th place so it's easy to think they're not actually all that good.
However, take a closer look and you'll notice they're one of just four sides - along with the traditional powerhouses of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid - to still own an unbeaten home record.
Valencia have won three and drawn four of their home games, scoring 12 and conceding seven.
In Europe, though, there has been a significant difference. In their second match, they were defeated 3-0 at home by a young Ajax team and although the 4-1 win over Lille looks convincing, Valencia were 1-0 down until the 66th minute and scored three times in the last eight minutes.
Lille are the group whipping boys with just one point so far while Valencia, Chelsea and Ajax are all on seven. Los Che go into this one on the back of a 2-1 loss to Real Betis.
Chelsea so dangerous on the road
Group H is delicately poised with the top three all having won two, drawn one and lost one.
Chelsea started their campaign with a 1-0 home loss to Valencia - a result which could yet come back to bite them - but followed it with away wins at Lille and, more impressively, Ajax. They then trailed Ajax 4-1 at Stamford Bridge before pulling back to 4-4 as the visitors had two men sent off.
Although it seems a slightly random pattern of results, it's fairly reflective of Chelsea's season so far - they're still unconvincing at home but can be deadly on the road.
They may have lost 2-1 at Manchester City at the weekend but they had the hosts running around after them at times and, as boss Frank Lampard put it, just needed to tidy up the details. Prior to that, they'd won eight straight away games in all competitions.
Chelsea clear favourites and worth backing
The market certainly respects the Blues' away prowess here and Chelsea are 2.16 to bank the win that would put them in a golden position to qualify with a home game against Lille to come. Valencia are 3.60 while The Draw is 3.80.
It's certainly noticeable that Group H has seen a lack of home wins.
In the eight matches played so far, there have been just two. By contrast, the key matches have gone the way of the visiting teams with Valencia winning at Chelsea, Ajax winning at Valencia and Chelsea winning at Ajax. And, of course, Ajax were 4-1 up at Chelsea.
While Chelsea have the insurance policy of a home game against Lille, I'm going to keep this simple and put faith in them shining on the road again.
Yes, it was a tough match against Man City at the weekend but, incredibly against a Pep Guardiola side, Chelsea had more possession.
Their young, vibrant side will have taken plenty of positives and their fantastic away form just can't be ignored. In fact, I'll just push the boat out a little further and also back Chelsea -1 on the handicap at 3.85.
They're capable of scoring in numbers and Valencia have some injury concerns.
There's also an extra incentive here; if Chelsea win by two goals or more, it would guarantee their progress given that they'd have superior head-to-head records against both Valencia and Ajax.
Goals on the menu
Nine of Chelsea's 10 road trips this season have featured Over 2.5 goals so it's hard to argue with the 1.69 on offer here.
The outlier was Chelsea's 1-0 win in Ajax which may just hint that they're capable of a more European type display. Unders is 2.36 but I don't really want to get involved in that.
It's the same deal when looking BTTS, with 'Yes' at just 1.60 and 'No' 2.60.
For a goalscorer bet, I like the look of Christian Pulisic at 3.90. His clever movement adds plenty to the Chelsea frontline and he's really found his feet in recent weeks.
The American has scored five times in his last six starts and now it could be time for a first Champions League goal of the campaign.