PAOK vs Chelsea: Predictions, Odds and Betting Tips
Chelsea travel to Greece to start their Europa League campaign in what looks to be a very winnable group.
Chelsea are the bookies’ favourite to win the Europa League this season and a big reason for that is the favourable group draw they received. They do have some long journeys to make however and Maurizio Sarri may look to rest some of the big names for their Thursday night matches if things heat up at home.
PAOK navigated two Champions League qualifying rounds before losing out to Benfica in the play off round and will be hoping that home advantage can help against Chelsea. They will know that it is really a race for second in this group however and anything they get against the Premier League side will be a massive bonus.
It is only the very early stages in the Greek Super League but PAOK have done everything asked of them so far. They are yet to meet any of the big names however and this tie against Chelsea is followed by a home match against reigning champions AEK and then a visit to Olympiacos.
After last season’s poor performance Chelsea have looked to Sarri to get them back into contention for the Premier League title – but a European trophy in the Italian’s first season would definitely go down well with the fans. The team have had an excellent start to their season and few would see that form deserting them in Greece. Expect a big victory for Chelsea – 3-0 seems about right.
It may be the bookies waiting to see what kind of team Sarri picks for their Europa League matches but the price for a Chelsea win is relatively attractive given the talent the London side possess.
There cannot be many that expect anything but a Chelsea victory in Thessaloniki and the Premier League team should be able to dominate this match from the beginning. An early goal for the visitors would dictate proceedings with Chelsea easily able to score more in the second half.
1 x 2 Odds
- Chelsea’s European season ended last year at the hands of Spanish giants Barcelona after they finished second in their Champions League group to Roma. Two draws at home – as well as a thrashing in the eternal city – gave them the harder draw in the knockout stage.
- PAOK were stunned not to make even the group stage of last year’s Europa League. After beating Olimpik Donetsk in the third qualifying round they were one of the first clubs outside Sweden to discover the talents of Swedish side Ostersund who were eventually knocked out by Arsenal.
- Although many recent Chelsea converts would expect their side to be competing in the Champions League they have played in this competition as well in recent seasons – and won the Europa League in 2013, beating Benfica in the final.
- PAOK’s finest achievement in European competition came way back in 1974 when they made it to the quarterfinals of the Cup Winners’ Cup. They were knocked out by Milan.