Chelsea vs AC Milan: Champions League Preview, Gameweek 3, 2022
 (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

The Red and Blacks versus the Blues. England versus Italy. Bottom of the group versus the top.

Everything is on the line as Graham Potter's Chelsea face Stefano Pioli's AC Milan this Wednesday evening, at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea are currently having a troubling time in the Champions League. They lost their first game against Dinamo Zagreb in abhorrent fashion, and later drew against RB Salzburg with another unimaginative performance.

Now they face the biggest opponents in their group, who have all the arsenal and fire power to keep the Blues left frustrated at the bottom of their table. A defeat for Potter's men would see them on the brink of just their second ever Champions League Group Stage exit ever.

Chelsea have a point to prove. If they meet the challenge it may inspire a much needed spur of momentum. If they don't, Chelsea could be waving goodbye to their Champions League dreams.

So much on the line. Only 90 minutes to decide it. What a game this will be.

  • Team News

Chelsea

Chelsea have had to make do with a series of injuries recently. Edouard Mendy has been out with a knee injury, but the Chelsea boss shared some positive news about the Senegalese international.

 "Edouard [Mendy] has been training with the team for the last few days, so he has made good progress and he will be in the squad," he said.

Mendy's place will be competitive to snatch back, as stand in goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga  has been fantastic in Mendy's stead.

Potter gave some more updates for the rest of his squad when talking to the media.

"Jorginho felt a little bit of discomfort in his abdominal area against Crystal Palace but has trained today so we will see how he reacts to that and take on a decision," he said.

"Kai [Havertz] had a slight issue as well but also played today, but a part from that we are all ok."

N'golo Kante has been pictured doing some forms of on pitch training, but he is recovering from a long term hamstring injury and will not feature either. A huge blow for the Blues. 

AC Milan

Whilst Chelsea's medical room is well-occupied, Milan's is overflowing.

Divock Origi, Mike Maignan, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Junior Messias, Theo Hernandez, and Alessandro Florenzi are all confined to the infirmary.

To make matters that little bit worse, Simon Kjaer, Davide Calabria and Alexis Saelemaekers ended their games early against Empoli last weekend, the former two with hamstring injuries and Saelemaekers with a knee issue. 

Chelsea will greet two familiar faces in Milan's starting lineup however, with Cobham graduate Fikayo Tomori and Premier League veteran Oliver Giroud returning to the bridge. 

  • Predicted Lineups

Chelsea

Kepa; Cucurella, Fofana, Silva, James; Kovacic, Mount, Gallagher; Sterling, Aubameyang, Broja.

AC Milan

Tatarusanu; Dest, Kalulu, Tomori, Ballo-Toure; Tonali, Bennacer; Krunic, De Ketelaere, Leao; Giroud

  • Key Players

Chelsea - Reece James

It is not very often that game after game a team's danger man comes from the right back position, but Reece James justifies this decision immaculately. 

Whilst the club has been going through turmoil and turbulence, James has shown astonishing maturity on and off the pitch. He is not afraid of the big games, and that is why we think he will shine this Wednesday.

(Photo by Andrew Kearns - CameraSport via Getty Images)
(Photo by Andrew Kearns - CameraSport via Getty Images)

 

James will be facing Rafael Leao from Milan's left wing (more on him later) which will keep his night busy, but the Cobham starlet has all the strength, speed and tenacity to silence any superstar. If he is not pinned back too deep, you should expect James to stride forwards with the ball and put pressure on all the injury fragilities in this AC Milan side.

Strong at the back. Lethal in attack. Reece James is expected to shine once again in Europe. 

AC Milan - Rafael Leao

The aforementioned Portuguese roadrunner will have a fierce battle with James, but it would be naive to think that will make his night completely silent.

When you think of young, upcoming, exciting attackers, Rafael Leao should never be far from your thoughts. 

 (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
(Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

Being Serie A MVP last season puts him in excellent company with some of the greats of the game. And winning the Serie A title alongside it is some achievement for a 23-year-old. 

Leao looks every inch the predator he is on the football field: tall, muscular, dangerous. But he plays with a charming grin on his face that has granted him the nickname l'uomo che sorride - the smiling man.

With four goals and four assists in just seven games this Serie A campaign, he has started where he left off last season and will undoubtedly give the Blues some serious headaches. 

  • Match Details

Where is the game being played?

This Champions League game is being played at Chelsea's home stadium, Stamford Bridge. 

What time is Kick-off?

The game is scheduled for an 8pm BST kick-off.

How can I watch?

The match will be televised on BT Sport 2 and Ultimate, with coverage starting at 7pm.

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