Monday, May 20, 2019

Prediction: PAOK vs Chelsea

Verdict: Both Teams to Score – Yes

Best Odds: 10/11

Bookmaker: bet365

London-based hotshots Chelsea will be hoping to maintain their perfect record and extend the winning streak to six consecutive matches, after launching a sensational start to the Premier League campaign. Maurizio Sarri’s men lock horns with Greek giants PAOK who have also enjoyed a fully charged start to the new campaign and this promises to be an interesting clash.

PAOK

They might have been without a league triumph since 1985 but PAOK have made quite a progress during the last couple of seasons in Greece and will be the ones to challenge AEK and Olympiacos for honours this term.

Successive Cup triumph have come as a reward for the progress made under the guidance of Razvan Lucescu who almost missed out on the Champions League spot this season. After knocking out FC Basel and Spartak Moscow, PAOK ended up losing to Benfica at the final hurdle and dropping into the Europa League. Despite narrowly missing out on Europe’s elite competition PAOK are brimming with confidence and are raring to go with a more than often underestimated competition. PAOK boast a competitive squad but the man to keep an eye on is Aleksandar Prijovic. Serbia striker – who played for Derby County, Yeovil Town and Northampton Town – hit five goals in eight games this season, extending his formidable streak from last season.

Team News

Prijovic was rested last weekend and will be slotted back in the starting line-up, together with former Arsenal man Chuba Akpom, who will be keen to impress against his recent London rivals.

Omar El Kaddouri is likely to be lined up alongside – and a bit behind – Aleksandar Prijovic in the final third.

Chelsea

The last time Chelsea took part in the Europa League, they ended up winning it and that’s the scenario Maurizio Sarri would like to relive and replay. The Italian has been given much praise for his great work at the beginning of the new season at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues came off from a disappointing 2017/18 run which cost Antonio Conte his job and Chelsea their place in the Champions League for the first time since 2013. Tired and lethargic, Chelsea are now looking rejuvenated and are once again a joy to behold. Five straight Premier League victories have brought the sunny days back to Stamford Bridge and it is now up to Sarri to make sure the Blues remain a competitive side throughout the season. The Italian is expected to stick to his 4-3-3 tactics for the upcoming game but could end up making a number of changes to his lineup. Only 14 different players have been handed Premier League starts this season and we should not be surprised to see Sarri change almost an entire team.

Team News

Cesc Fabregas is returning from injury and could be given a chance to prove his match fitness in Greece.

The likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ethan Ampadu will be hoping for a chance to shine in the senior ranks.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Chelsea last took part in Europa League in 2013
  • Blues won all of their 5 opening matches this season
  • This will be the 1st competitive meeting between these two sides
  • Chelsea have yet to lose in any of their 4 games against Greek opposition
  • Aleksandar Prijovic scored in four of PAOK’s six European qualification games

Conclusion

Greek side PAOK will be hoping to extend their positive start to the season and stun the in-form Chelsea with help from their fanatical supporters. The Blues are expected to shuffle their deck a bit as Sarri looks to rest his first-team players, which is the main reason we would suggest going for goals instead of picking a side in this match.

Verdict: Both Teams to Score – Yes

Best Odds: 10/11

Bookmaker: bet365

 

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