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Predictions: Chelsea vs PAOK

SoccerPredictions in Free Soccer Predictions 28 Nov 2018

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Verdict: Chelsea to Win to Nil

Best Odds: 11/10

Bookmaker: bet365

Already qualified for the next stage of the Europa League with two games to spare and with only a point keeping them away from clinching the top spot in Group L, Chelsea play host to Greek side PAOK Salonika looking to bounce back from the Premier League disappointment.

Chelsea

The London Blues are in a dominant position in their Europa League group. With maximum 12 points to their name after four matches, Chelsea have twice as many points as the second-placed side MOL Vidi but will have very little reason to feel relaxed heading into the PAOK fixture.

After a brimming start to his life in England, Maurizio Sarri is for the first time starting to feel a bit of a pressure. Their dominant Europa League campaign aside, the Blues have slowed down the pace in the league recently and are winless in last two matches. A goalless draw against Everton was followed by a frustrating 3-1 defeat at Tottenham which brought up plenty of questions on how Sarri is using the players he’s got at his disposal. The Italian has received plenty of criticism for playing N’Golo Kante out of position – further upfield while using Jorginho as a holding midfielder instead. Heading into the PAOK game we could witness a slight shift with several fringe players given a chance to shine. Tactics will not be changed as Sarri hardly ever does that and we’re likely to once again see a classic No.10 and a centre-forward slotted in a false-9 position.

Team News

Ethan Ampadu is said to have suffered a knock and will be out of contention for the Thursday’s clash.

Marco van Ginkel remains a long-term absentee with his knee injury and the only remaining unavailable player for PAOK.

PAOK

With only three points next to their name, Greek side PAOK are on the brink of elimination from the Europa League. They are level on points with BATE but still sit rock bottom due to a less favourable goal difference.

It was exactly BATE that PAOK recorded their sole Europa League win this season. The impressive 4-1 triumph was overshadowed by three defeats to nil all the way through. PAOK are no longer holding their faith in their own hands and will pray that other results go their way in order to remain in the running for the next stage of the competition. A defeat at Stamford Bridge would, however, make it practically impossible for PAOK to survive the cut. Contrary to their frustrating European campaign, PAOK have been in fine form domestically. Razvan Lucescu’s side are coming off from three consecutive wins – two in the Greek Super League and one in the national Cup – and have yet to suffer a single defeat this season as far as domestic competitions are concerned. Serbian striker Aleksandar Prijovic has been the one to watch this season. The experienced forward hit a goal apiece for club and country in his last two outings and should be kept a close eye on.

Team News

PAOK will have no selection issues heading into the Chelsea fixture apart from Leo Matos who is the only player with a question mark over his availability.

Lucescu will have a full crop to pick from and will definitely hope Jaba and Aleksandar Prijovic will replicate their most recent forms.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Chelsea are one point away from landing a top spot in Group L
  • PAOK conceded only 4 goals in 11 league matches in Greece
  • PAOK have yet to suffer a single defeat domestically this season
  • Chelsea are winless in their last two outings
  • PAOK lost three Europa League matches without scoring a single goal in the process

Conclusion

The forthcoming fixture could prove to be a rather straightforward win for the English side. Frustrated by their Tottenham defeat, the Blues will be extremely motivated to bounce back with a resounding win in front of their home support. PAOK are not to be underestimated but their form in the European competition is a stark contrast to the one displayed in Greece.

Verdict: Chelsea to Win to Nil

Best Odds: 11/10

Bookmaker: bet365

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