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Chelsea -135 Favorites Over Ajax, Valencia & Lille to Win UCL Group H

John Dillon

by John Dillon in Soccer News

Updated Jan 4, 2023 · 6:10 AM PST

Chelsea boss Frank Lamaprd is in his first season in command.
Frank Lampard was a Champions League winner with Chelsea in 2012 and now leads them in Group H against Ajax, Valencia and Lille. Photo from @ChelseaFC (Twitter).
  • New boss Lampard has given Blues’ youngsters a chance in early games
  • Ajax have lost semifinal run stars but are experts at re-building
  • Valencia are back after three-season absence while Lille are without Pepe

Chelsea have returned to the Champions League after winning last season’s Europa League and have been handed a comfortable group stage draw to welcome them back.

They are favorites at -135  to win Group H ahead of last spring’s semifinalists Ajax.

UCL 2019-20 Group H Odds

Team Odds
Chelsea -135
Ajax Amsterdam +300
Valencia +350
Lille +1400

Odds taken at 2019/08/30.

New Stamford Bridge manager Frank Lampard is keen to make an impact in the competition which he won as a player with the club in 2012.

Outsiders to Lift Prize

But they are not rated among the leading contenders in the Champions League odds with an average outright price to win of +3100

Four-times winners Ajax are priced at +300 to win the group. Valencia are +350 and Lille are the wide outsiders at +1400.

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Lampard’s career in charge of Chelsea has begun slowly, with only one win in three opening Premier League matches.

Although young American forward Christian Pusilic was landed from Borussia Dortmund some time ago, the club is now operating under a transfer ban.

They also lost on penalties in the European Super Cup final against Champions League winners Liverpool.

Former star player Eden Hazard has departed for Real Madrid. And although young American forward Christian Pusilic was landed from Borussia Dortmund some time ago the club is now operating under a transfer ban.

The new coach has been keen to give home-grown youngsters a chance – contrary to Chelsea’s policy under previous recent managers.

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Striker Tammy Abraham repaid his faith with two goals in the 3-2 defeat of Norwich City. Young midfielder Mason Mount did likewise by scoring in the 1-1 draw with Leicester City.

Experience and Depth in Squad

There also remains enough experience and talent in the squad with players like N’Golo Kante and Olivier Giroud for Chelsea to advance as group winners.

Ajax’s young team created one of the feel-good stories of last season’s competition.

They eliminated Real Madrid in the last 16 and beat Juventus in the quarterfinal before succumbing to Tottenham Hotspur in the semifinal.

They have subsequently said goodbye to impressive midfielder Frenkie de Jong who has joined Barcelona and to defender Matthijs de Ligt, who has moved to Juventus.

The 22-year-old Dutch international Donny Van Den Beek will now take on creative responsibilities in midfield.

But the Amsterdam club are past masters at re-inventing themselves after losing their best home-produced players.

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The 22-year-old Dutch international Donny Van Den Beek will now take on creative responsibilities in midfield.

After the addition of $22 million winger Quincy Promes from Sevilla and center-back Edson Alvarez from Mexican Liga MX outfit America, Ajax has re-equipped well and should outstrip Valencia for second place.

They advanced through one qualifying round and then defeated Apoel Nicosia of Cyprus to reach the group stage.

Fourth in La Liga

Valencia has emerged from some troubled times in recent seasons and finished fourth in Spain’s La Liga last season.

They also surprisingly defeated Barcelona in the final of the Copa del Rey.

The Spaniards were third in their group last season. After stepping down to the Europa League they were beaten in the semifinal by Arsenal.

The French club will be hampered by the departure of star player Nicolas Pepe to Arsenal.

Lille were runners-up to mighty Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue1.

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The French club will be hampered by the departure of star player Nicolas Pepe to Arsenal.

However, they have recruited former Benfica starlet Renato Sanches from Bayern Munich for a club-record fee of $36 million.

It will not be enough for them to challenge Ajax for a qualification place.

Pick: Chelsea -135

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