SAO PAULO (AP) – Group E
Chelsea, Valencia, Bayer Leverkusen, Racing Genk
Chelsea got just what they needed here: a cakewalk into the knockout stage.
Andre Villas-Boas will need some time to learn the ways of the Premier League and to instil his brand of football at Stamford Bridge, but he will have no trouble piloting the Blues through this section. It would not be shocking if Chelsea posted a perfect record, either, because some of that old grit, combined with a fully fit John Terry and Frank Lampard, casts a huge psychological shadow over a lot of European foes.
Juan Mata left Valencia for Chelsea, weakening his old club (Getty Images)
Valencia just sold one of its best players - Juan Mata - to, uh, Chelsea, so it no longer looms as a clear second placer. Bayer Leverkusen, however, isn't anything truly special, either, so the battle between the Spanish and German sides may well turn on who does the best against Chelsea in terms of goals allowed.
Racing Genk literally couldn't beat Maccabi Haifa to qualify: they needed penalties. There's no penalty shoot-out option here.
Our prediction: Chelsea are group winners; Leverkusen, are runners-up. Valencia are into the Europa League.
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