There are a lot of big changes that have taken place at Chelsea over the last 12 months. Their ex-manager Thomas Tuchel has recently been relieved of his position, despite the fact that he brought in plenty of new faces at Chelsea this summer. They have spent over £200 million on big names such as Wesley Fofana from Leicester for £72m, Marc Cucurella from Brighton for £58m, Raheem Sterling from Manchester City for £50m and Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli for £34m. They also tabled a £45m bid for Anthony Gordon from Everton, which the Merseyside club rejected.
When it comes to winning the Champions League, though, despite lifting it in 2021 with Chelsea, they are considered by most bookmakers to be behind the leading pack. Champions League betting is a tricky market to navigate. With the likes of Real Madrid and Chelsea being the last two winners and nowhere near favorites, it’ll be tricky to predict the outcome of this year’s competition.
Chelsea have big plans this season, and have shown they are certainly not messing around, with their multiple acquisitions as well as parting ways with their manager.
Manchester City and Liverpool are considered stronger options for this season’s trophy – Manchester City because of their purchase of Erling Haaland and Liverpool because of their proximity to Manchester City in the domestic league. The two teams operate in what seems to be their own league at times and were way ahead of the pack last season in the Premier League.
However, Liverpool have started their Premier League campaign quite slowly, lacking the explosiveness and tenacity that set them apart from the teams behind them, including Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur. They may fall short of their own high standards if the first few games are anything to go by.
Chelsea and RB Salzburg were drawn in Group E this season, alongside AC Milan and Dinamo Zagreb. The second game of Group E in this year’s tournament sees the Austrian-based club travel to Stamford Bridge, having never beaten them in a European game. Their last encounter in a 2019 friendly was an eight-goal thriller, with Chelsea coming out 5-3 on top.
Chelsea is a team in transition; with all the new additions we have touched on and a rocky start to their Premier League campaign, Salzburg might be playing the Londoners at the right time. Despite all the top talent in Chelsea’s ranks, they will undoubtedly need some time to gel. This has been made obvious by some of their early performances in this year’s Premier League campaign.
Despite the Austrians having some genuine talent in their squad, they look unlikely to trouble Chelsea, especially at Stamford Bridge. Their star striker Junior Adamu may cause some problems for the Chelsea defense. At the age of 21 and with an impressive strike rate, he has already been linked to some of the biggest clubs in Europe. Overall, though, they look relatively thin on the ground and lost one of their key players, Brenden Aaronson, to Leeds United in the summer.
Strangely enough, Aaronson was one of the key players behind Leeds United’s 3-0 thrashing of Chelsea a few weeks ago. Maybe if the Austrians had kept hold of the promising attacking midfielder, they could be going into this Champions League tie with more optimism.
When Aaronson was sold to Leeds, he became the second most expensive American player of all time, behind Christian Pulisic. The American attacker was sold for a hefty fee of 30 million euros, though, and if Salzburg looks to spend that wisely, they could build a solid team. Throughout the past decade, some of the best players in world football have made their name at the Austrian club. This includes superstars such as Erling Haaland and Sadio Mané.
It would be a shock if RB Salzburg came away from Stamford Bridge with all three points. However, Chelsea have already struggled domestically against Southampton, Everton and Leeds United. If they take this poor form into Europe’s premier domestic competition, it doesn’t look like it’ll end too well for them.
One thing we can expect from this game, though, is excitement. Chelsea have not been short of that this season and RB Salzburg sit at the summit of the Austrian Bundesliga after winning seven of their first eight games. Even though we touched on the fact that Chelsea will probably have too much for the Austrians, this game promises goals and could provide us with an unexpected outcome.