Chelsea v Salzburg
These are turbulent times for Chelsea, who sacked Champions League-winning coach Thomas Tuchel following the surprise 1-0 defeat to Dinamo Zagreb on Matchday 1. The German tactician was swiftly replaced by Brighton’s Graham Potter, who will be making his coaching debut in the competition for the visit of Salzburg. The Blues have not played since that defeat in Croatia, as all English Premier League games this weekend were suspended following the passing of Queen Elizabeth II.
Meanwhile, it has been a pretty good week for anyone of a Salzburg persuasion: the Red Bulls were hugely impressive in their 1-1 home draw with Italian champions AC Milan on Champions League Matchday 1, then comfortably dispatched Ried 3-0 in the Austrian Bundesliga with Benjamin Sesko, Noah Okafor and Junior Adamu all on the scoresheet. The latter was sent off in that game – but his is a domestic suspension and will not apply to European competition.
While Chelsea have not faced Austrian opposition this century, the Red Bulls were recently drawn in a Champions League group with fellow English side Liverpool and played out a memorable 4-3 at Anfield with Erling Haaland and Takumi Minamino the stars of the show. Though that generation is long gone, and Salzburg’s young guns will be clear underdogs against the Premier League giants, their track record suggests they will find the net: they have done so in 16 of their 19 previous group games in the competition. With that in mind, our suggestion is to back both teams to score at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
Rangers v Napoli
Rangers were given a chastening experience in matchday one of the Champions League as they were roundly defeated 4-0 at Ajax, and their second encounter in the group stage of the competition promises to be no easier as they welcome Napoli to Ibrox.
The Italians will travel to Glasgow without fans but on something of a high. They top Serie A, having won four of their six fixtures, while they also steamrollered an out-of-sorts Liverpool 4-1 last week in Naples.
This does not bode well for a Rangers side teetering on the brink of crisis. Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side have been defeated 4-0 in back-to-back against Celtic and Ajax, and the postponement of the weekend’s clash against Aberdeen has robbed them of the opportunity to regain some confidence before another European encounter.
The one thing that the home side have going in their favour is that the game is at Ibrox. Rangers are undefeated in eight European matches at the venue. It should be stressed, though, that they have not played too many genuinely elite opponents in Glasgow over this time. The exceptions are Borussia Dortmund (2-2) and RB Leipzig (3-1). This Napoli side is a cut above each of those.
In particular, the visitors have shown impressive scoring power this season. While this was most notably stressed against Liverpool, they have 13 goals in six games domestically. Against a leaky Rangers defence, they will expect to profit.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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