Juan Mata, Chelsea, Valencia
Juan Mata made an emotional return to Mestalla. Reuters

Chelsea will make the trip to the Mestalla to play Valencia in their second Group E encounter in the UEFA Champions League.

The Blues lead the group after a convincing 2-0 win against Bayer Leverkusen in their European opener a fortnight ago. However, Valencia are a strong side, especially at home and it's a fact proven by their 2-2 draw against Spanish and European champions Barcelona last week.

The main sub-plot of the tie is the return of Juan Mata. The 23-year-old was a key member of Unai Emery's Valencia side until he was captured by Chelsea earlier this summer. Since then he has proven his quality with an impressive beginning to his career in England, although it could be interesting to see how he responds to such a quick return to Valencia.

It is going to be strange for me, he said. I was here for a few years and it's going to be odd for me to go into a different dressing room.

Mata himself admitted that despite it being a strange night, he would leave friendships aside.

It will make it special for me. I know about the atmosphere in the Mestalla when Valencia play in the Champions League. I know how special the game is going to be and I'm very happy to be here.

But I don't know if it will be hard for me to play against my former team. We will find out what it feels like. I'm focused on helping the team win. Before and afterwards I will say hello to my friends here but the focus is on helping Chelsea win.

Many are eagerly anticipating the team sheet put out by Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas. The young Portuguese manager has had to fend off speculation of a rift with Chelsea's spine Frank Lampard, after leaving him on the bench as an unused substitute against Swansea at the weekend and it remains to be seen whether he will afford a starting role to the 33-year-old.

Fernando Torres seems to be on his way back amongst the goals, after scoring two in his last two appearances for Chelsea, and his red card against Swansea, which will make him ineligible for three league games, could see him start at Valencia.

Valencia come to this game on the back of their first loss of the season away at Sevilla. However, they're a strong team at home and coach Unai Emery was in a determined mood when asked of his side's chances against Chelsea.

We know all about Chelsea but also know that we are a very strong side, even more so here at Mestalla, he said. We are only focused on ourselves and want to produce a great game and a victory for our fans. Tomorrow every player wearing blue (including Mata) will be our enemy.

Both are quality sides and it should be fast-paced, entertaining encounter.

Team News

Chelsea will be without Michael Essien, who is a long-term absentee while Romelu Lukaku and Ryan Bertrand are both ineligible to play. However, Chelsea will welcome back Ramires who was suspended for the game against Bayer Leverkusen.

David Alebelda is doubtful for Valencia after limping off against Barcelona and missing the subsequent trip to Sevilla.


Chelsea 2-1 Valencia