What Chelsea Must Do to Reach Champions League Knockout Stages Following Ajax’s Win Over Lille

Considering the form they were in, many expected Chelsea to overcome Valencia at the Mestalla Stadium on Wednesday night, in turn securing their place in the Champions League knockout stages.

Such events did not transpire however, and, in fact, the Blues were rather lucky to escape Spain with a point after barnstorming 2-2 draw saw the hosts spurn countless chances to emerge victorious.

Victory would have assured progression, but the draw, coupled with Ajax’ win away at Lille, means that Frank Lampard’s men will rely on numerous outcomes to reach the knockout stages  when they host Valencia on matchday six.

Indeed, ​Chelsea will need to beat Lille at Stamford Bridge to confirm their place in the knockout stages, with any result from Ajax’s match with Valencia seeing the Blues confirmed in the last-16. If Valencia draw, however, Chelsea would finish top of the group over Ajax as a result of their superior head-to-head record with the Dutch side.

The issues emerge should Lampard’s side fail to beat the French outfit. If they draw with Lille, then a draw will do for Valencia, who would be level on points with the ​Premier League side but would progress in second place due to their superior head-to-head record.

If Chelsea draw and Ajax win, that would suffice, but if Valencia leave Amsterdam with all three points then both the sides in that match would progress ahead of the Blues. 

In the case of defeat, then no matter what the result at the Johan Cruyff Arena is, Chelsea will finish third as their head-to-head record would come into account with Valencia progressing on eight points, should they lose.

A madcap night in Spain saw Valencia initially find themselves in front after Carlos Soler poked home from Rodrigo’s cross, but goals from Mateo Kovacic and Christian Pulisic temporarily put the visitors on course for an early route into the knockout stages. Kepa Arizzabalaga then saved a penalty for the Blues, only for a freak equaliser from Daniel Wass to hand the hosts a deserved point.


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