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Chelsea vs RB Salzburg predictions: Potter can produce a winning start
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Jack Ogalbe
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Graham Potter will take charge of his first Chelsea game on Wednesday against RB Salzburg
Graham Potter will take charge of his first Chelsea game on Wednesday against RB Salzburg

A new era begins for Chelsea on Wednesday as Graham Potter takes charge of the team for the first time as RB Salzburg visit in the Champions League.

The Blues' opening 1-0 defeat to Dinamo Zagreb cost Thomas Tuchel his job, and they will be looking to get their first points in Group E against the Austrian champions.

Salzburg started their campaign with an impressive 1-1 draw at home to AC Milan and will look to ruin Potter's party.

The game will be the 47-year-old's maiden appointment in Europe's top club competition, and while his team's performance may not be perfect, he should make a winning start.

Team news

N'Golo Kante remains unavailable for Chelsea, but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is expected to start after making his debut in that defeat to Dinamo. A goal for the forward would see him become his new club's oldest player to score on their home Champions League debut.

Potter is unlikely to make wholesale changes, with the three-man defence favoured by his predecessor Tuchel something he regularly used while at Brighton.

Further forward, Kai Havertz should play some part on what would be his 100th appearance for the club.

Salzburg's recruitment policy over the years has been based on recruiting young players, developing them and selling them on. They had the youngest starting XI in the competition on matchday one, with 36-year-old Andreas Ulmer their only player over 24.

Ulmer may be joined in the team by another relative veteran and a familiar face to Potter in Brazilian Bernardo, who played under the coach at Brighton. The 27-year-old replaced Oumar Solet in the first half against the Rossoneri and, after starting Saturday's 3-0 win at Ried, should be retained here.

Their main threat will be carried by Noah Okafor, who scored against Milan to make it four goals in his last five Champions League appearances.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will hope to score his first Chelsea goal against Salzburg on Wednesday
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will hope to score his first Chelsea goal against Salzburg on Wednesday

The stats

Chelsea's away record this season has been appalling. After a nervous 1-0 win on the opening weekend at Everton, they have lost their last three games in all competitions, but they have shown more encouragement at home, drawing 2-2 against Tottenham before beating both Leicester and West Ham 2-1.

The Blues have also won five of their last six Champions League outings at Stamford Bridge, although the blip was in the most recent of those, losing 3-1 to Real Madrid in last season's quarter-finals.

This is the fourth straight season that Salzburg have played in the group stages of the Champions League, and they finally made the knockout rounds last term, only to go down to Bayern Munich by an aggregate of 8-2 over two legs.

Die Roten Bullen have enjoyed a good season so far, with them yet to be defeated. They have, though, lost their last three Champions League away games.

The Austrian outfit have also never beaten an English side in European competitions.

Predictions

The new manager bounce is part of football folklore, and it is tough not to see Potter making a winning start on Wednesday.

Chelsea's players have underperformed this season, and a new voice in the changing room might be exactly what their new signings and their more established colleagues need.

However, it may not be straightforward, with Salzburg clearly in good form, and they will look to expose a defence lacking confidence.

With the crowd behind them, the Blues should have enough and a win and both teams to score stands out, while it would be no surprise to see Aubameyang mark his first outing at the Bridge with a goal.

Tags

Champions LeagueChelseaFC Salzburg
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