THE EUROPA LEAGUE returns on Thursday night as Chelsea travel to Greece to face PAOK on matchday one. Gaurav Chaddah (@Gchaddahjourno) shares his betting thoughts.
PAOK v Chelsea | Thursday 20th September 2018, 17:55 | BT Sport
The Europa League group-stage kicks-off on Thursday evening and Chelsea start their campaign with a trip to Greece to face PAOK.
It’s the first time Chelsea find themselves in the competition since 2013, where the Blues beat Benfica in the final.
It’s five wins out of five for Chelsea so far under the new reign of Maurizio Sarri, however, things may become more difficult for the Italian now as he juggles European commitments.
It’s hard to gauge therefore how good Chelsea could be this season once the games do come thick and fast, but it is likely, should they find the right balance between domestic and European commitments, they’ll find themselves in the latter stages of this competition.
Like there opponents, PAOK have also enjoyed a 100% start to their campaign in the Greek Premier League, winning all three games.
They return to European action after a season out and did enjoy moderate success when in the competition last time, progressing through the group-stages to then be knocked out by Schalke in the first knockout round.
Whilst this will be a difficult game, the home fans are sure to create an incredible atmosphere and hope they can take a Premier League scalp.
The betting angle
Chelsea are fairly short here but I think, despite expected squad rotation with players such as Eden Hazard and Mateo Kovacic left out, they should come away with all three points.
Sarri seems to have bought a new found confidence and fresh look to this Chelsea side and that should help the whole squad.
Whilst they’re too short outright, Chelsea’s new style has meant goals, with only one game so far this season featuring fewer than three goals and Skybet's 7/4 offering on the Blues to win and Over 2.5 Goals looks a good play.
PAOK v Chelsea – Chelsea to win and Over 2.5 Goals (7/4 Skybet)