Chelsea face a tough Champions League opener against Sevilla on Tuesday night and the Spaniards can take something, says Dave Tindall...
"Chelsea struggle against Spanish opposition. They've won just one of their last nine Champions League matches against teams from La Liga and that was on the road."
Chelsea v Sevilla
Live on BT Sport
Blues still have same old problems
Chelsea went out and spent a fortune on attacking players over the summer. And they reaped some benefits against Southampton at the weekend as German duo Timo Werner (2) and Kai Havertz combined for three goals.
Problem was, they conceded three at the other end to emerge with just a single point. For now, it seems the Blues have learned nothing from last season.
That was a campaign when they drew 4-4 at home in a Champions League group game against Ajax before shipping seven goals across two legs against Bayern Munich to lose in the last 16.
That said, Chelsea still topped a tough Group E against Valencia, Ajax and Lille so they can certainly perform at this level and do some damage. It's just you're still never quite sure what to expect.
Frank Lampard did at least boost his defence over the summer by signing the vastly-experienced Thiago Silva and the Brazilian - who sat out the weekend draw with Southampton - should return for this one.
Sevilla not as strong in Champions League
If this were a one-off Europa League semi-final or final, you'd be backing Sevilla all day long.
They continued their astonishing run in Europe's second competition by winning it for a fourth time in seven years this summer when defeating Inter Milan in the final in Cologne.
But they've found success in the Champions League hard to come by.
In 2015/16 they went out at the group stage, the following season it was a last 16 exit while in 2017/18 a run to the quarter-finals included coming out of an easy group where they and Liverpool were easily the best two teams before edging past Manchester United in the last 16.
They did manage a 2-2 draw at Anfield but their other two away games were terrible - a 5-1 defeat at Spartak Moscow and a 1-1 draw at Maribor.
It's been a steady enough start to the domestic campaign so far and they come to Stamford Bridge sat 10th after picking up seven points in four games. That includes a win, a draw and a defeat in three away games.
They also suffered a 2-1 extra-time Super Cup loss to Bayern.
Blues fancied to start with a win
The market, leaning heavily on home advantage, expects Chelsea to open their campaign with a victory and the hosts are 2.0811/10 to come out on top.
Sevilla are 3.8514/5 while The Draw is 3.711/4.
While Chelsea have shipped nine goals in their five Premier League games, Sevilla have been much stronger defensively.
They've let in just three in four and that includes just a single goal in a 1-1 draw at Barcelona. It's also worth recalling that Los Rojiblancos only conceded a single goal in regulation time in that Super Cup game with Bayern.
Sevilla have played English opposition plenty in recent seasons and it's gone well. In last season's Europa League, they beat Wolves 1-0 in the quarters before seeing off Manchester United 2-1 in the semis (both one-legged ties on neutral soil).
Prior to that, they'd played both Liverpool and Manchester United in the 2017/2018 Champions League, drawing 2-2 at Anfield and winning 2-1 at Old Trafford.
Yep, their game stacks up well against Premier League outfits.
And, conversely, Chelsea struggle against Spanish opposition. They've won just one of their last nine Champions League matches against teams from La Liga and that was on the road. Five of those ended in draws.
Therefore, I don't think the visitors lose this game and Sevilla +1 at 1.910/11 is my main bet.
However, I'll also try something a little more imaginative.
Sevilla can hit back in HT/FT market
Chelsea started fast against Southampton and I could see that playing out again here.
The Blues led 2-0 after 28 minutes and 2-1 at the break before losing their way in the second half.
The Chelsea/Draw HT/FT double result landed there and I'll back a repeat on Tuesday night at 16.5.
Three of Sevilla's five La Liga goals this season have come in the 90th minute so they're a side which keeps pushing until the end.
While Chelsea may get by on early enthusiasm, the away side's extra tactical nous could show itself most after the interval.
BTTS fancied to land
It's fairly predictable to see Both teams to Score trading at just 1.695/7, with Chelsea the clear driving force behind that price.
From a Sevilla perspective it's not as clear given that two of their La Liga games have finished 1-0 (one win and one defeat).
Also, three of Sevilla's four domestic matches have finished with two goals or fewer so Under 2.5 is a runner at 2.0811/10, with 1-1 a very feasible scoreline.
As for goalscorers, Timo Werner managed four in the eight Champions League ties he played for RB Leipzig last season.
For Sevilla, Luuk de Jong netted at Barca and has two in four domestically while new signing Ivan Rakatic is also off the mark.
This is Sevilla's sixth appearance in the UEFA Champions League - they haven't lost on MD1 since 2007/08, when they were beaten 3-0 at the Emirates Stadium by Arsenal; they are unbeaten in four MD1 matches since (W2 D2).
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Dave Tindall's P/L, 2020/21
1pt Sevilla +1 at 1.910/11
0.5pts Chelsea/Draw at 1615/1