Chelsea begin their UEFA Champions League 2022/23 campaign with a trip to Croatia to face Dinamo Zagreb. Chelsea made it through to this year’s competition after finishing third in the English Premier League table, while their opponents had to win the qualifiers and earn their opportunity to play with the elite. Chelsea will be happy to start their campaign against a slightly easier opponent and will look to earn early momentum in the league.
Dinamo Zagreb have had a good start to the season as they sit at the top of their league table with seven wins and a draw in their first eight matches. They have scored 27 goals with an average xG rate of 2.06 and conceded ten goals with an xGA rate of 0.93.
Chelsea are currently in the sixth position in EPL, with three wins, one draw, and two losses. The Blues have scored eight goals with an average xG rate of 1.35. Their defence has been a bit leaky and conceded nine goals with an xGA rate of 1.52.
We now look at some of the stats that could predict the outcome of the match.
Chelsea’s attacking zones
Chelsea average 33.33 positional attacks per match and attempt 6-7 shots from these attacks. They also attempt ten shots per match with a 34% accuracy rate. Chelsea have attacking wing-backs, and they like to create chances from the flanks. Dinamo Zagreb will face the toughest test of the season and will be put under a lot of pressure from passes attempted to the penalty box by the Chelsea players.
Chelsea to dominate the possession
Chelsea are likely to dominate the ball in the match. They average 61.4% possession per match. Their passing average for the season is 530.7 with an 87.2% accuracy rate. The above viz shows that the three centre-backs play a high line, which allows the full-backs to make forward runs. Raheem Sterling will be a key figure in the attack, but it is unsure whether he starts on the left or continues in his false nine role.
Dinamo Zagreb’s defence
Dinamo Zagreb have shown dominance in their league, but it will be very difficult for the Croatian club to repeat the same against Chelsea. They have to defend the goal properly and catch Chelsea on the counter. Dinamo’s defence has been decent, and they have won 65.4% of the defensive duels along with 53% of the aerial duels. In the last match, Zagreb won the defensive duels in crucial areas. They have to remain on their toes if they want to concede fewer goals and keep their hopes alive for qualification to the knockout stages.
The home team will be without Luke Menalo and Emir Dilaver for this match.
Thomas Tuchel will make some changes to the team. Kai Havertz and Masin Mount will return to the starting lineup after coming off the bench in the weekend’s fixture. Thiago Silva will get a rest after playing the full 90 minutes in all the league matches. Pierre-Emrick Aubameyang and Dennis Zakaria are in contention for their Chelsea debuts.
Chelsea will look to start their UEFA Champions League season with a win over the Croatian club. They will look for a win against the weakest team in the group. However, it won’t be easy for them to win the game as these cup competitions can bring in a lot of surprising results. The Blues have to stick to their task and come back with three points from this game.
Visuals via Wyscout