Club World Cup: Al-Hilal v Chelsea Preview

After being handed a bye, Chelsea will take on Saudi Arabian outfit Al-Hilal for a place in the Club World Cup final on Wednesday. The Blues had to endure a nervy FA Cup fourth-round tie against Plymouth last weekend before getting through by virtue of extra-time.

Thomas Tuchel has some key decisions to make with regards to his line-up, and he could start Reece James, which would see Chelsea revert to a back three. Meanwhile, goalkeeper Edouard Mendy is expected to join up with the squad after his exploits with Senegal, who beat Egypt in the AFCON Final last Sunday.

Chelsea are looking to carve out their own slice of history by becoming just the third English team to win the Club World Cup, so we have underlined a few juicy tips for you to tuck into.

Back Chelsea to mount a comeback

Chelsea are making their second appearance at the Club World Cup. In 2012, they finished runners-up, and they will want to make amends. While things haven’t gone according to plan in the Premier League for Tuchel’s charges, they have the EFL Cup final to look forward to against Liverpool, and they won’t want to turn their noses up at silverware.

In their successful Champions League-winning campaign last season, the west London outfit kept nine clean sheets in 13 games, and they trailed for just over five minutes. However, the Club World Cup is never always a cakewalk, and the Blues could find themselves in a spot of bother. A lapse of concentration, for example, can prove costly. And bet365 have provided a tasty looking 6/1 for Chelsea to advance to the final after coming from behind, and this is our first pick.

Chelsea to come flying out of the blocks

Chelsea, you imagine, will want to make a statement of intent, and come flying out of the blocks. Hakim Ziyech is always a slippery customer, and Romelu Lukaku likes to play off the shoulder of the last defender, and if he brings his shooting boots, he can be clinical.

And if you are feeling brave, you could try out the time of the 1st Chelsea goal, and for Tuchel’s side to score within the first 15 minutes. William Hill may lure you in with their 12/5 price.

Chelsea to prevail on penalties

Another intriguing possible outcome is that Chelsea may need penalties to advance to the Club World Cup Final. Although Al-Hilal may well be one of the weaker teams in the tournament, that doesn’t mean they won’t give Chelsea a scare.

Al-Hilal will look to defend deep throughout the game, and try and frustrate Chelsea by closing off spaces in and around the box. It could well be a cagey affair, but if you don’t mind your nerves being frayed, then you may wish to explore the Method of Victory market, and for Chelsea to win on penalties. Paddy Power is serving up a price of a long 19/1 for Chelsea to advance to the Final.