Sunny Spain is our next destination as we travel to Valencia, this after the defeat by Manchester City at the weekend. Football is made up of fine margins and had Willian scored prior to Kante putting us 0-1 ahead in Manchester, then we could have been looking at a possible victory, or a draw at worst.
However, we now move on to the challenge of the Champions League with revenge in mind against Valencia who beat us 0-1 at Stamford Bridge back in September. During that evening Rodrigo gave the Spaniards the victory with Ross Barkley missing a late penalty, which could have made the score 1-1.
The Mestalla has been a happy hunting ground for us in previous Champions League games; in 2007 we won 1-2 with Michael Essien grabbing a last-minute winner, while in October 2007 we came away with another 1-2 victory, this time Joe Cole and Didier Drogba scored on the night.
2011 was our next visit, when we really should have won, but on the night Diego Alves in the Valencia goal kept them in it. Frank Lampard gave us the lead, but a late handball by Salamon Kalou gifted Roberto Soldado a late equaliser from the penalty spot. The Valencia manager that evening was none other than Unai Emery.
Valencia are currently tenth in La Liga with a record of won five drawn five and lost four. Their last game against Real Betis ended in a 2-1 defeat with Betis scoring in injury time to get the win, this after Gomez had put Valencia ahead in the 32nd minute.
If we beat Valencia, we would progress out of Group H to the knockout stages. A draw would leave both Chelsea and Valencia on eight points, which would mean that the deciding place in Group H would go to the last game. A defeat would damage our chances and we’d have to hope that Lille could do us a favour at Ajax in the evening game, which is highly unlikely.
Coming back into the Champions League squad and training on Tuesday were Callum Hudson-Odoi, Ross Barkley and Toni Rudiger. More will be known about their chances of playing when Frank addresses the journalists on Tuesday evening, but the likelihood is that all three will still be missing.
Mason Mount should be back in the starting eleven after making an impact when coming on as a substitute against Manchester City. Willian should still be in the starting eleven hoping that if he gets a chance this time around, he buries it. Michy Batshuayi returns to Valencia where he had half a season on loan last year.
Since that defeat back in September we have shown maturity, pace and we are much more competitive. The wins at Ajax and in Lille have demonstrated that we’re not afraid to compete and although our squad is young, there is confidence in what Frank is asking the side to achieve. A win in Valencia would certainly give us the impetus to go even further in the competition.
I certainly believe in this squad and the way that they are playing, with things only getting better in the future. I would desperately love to see us win tomorrow, so that’s why I’m saying that we will win 1-3.