Champions League Group Stage • Chelsea FC vs. AC Milan: Like Lambs to the Slaughter

Milan come into this match as Group E leaders, but have an injury crisis that would make prior year's injury crises blush, mainly because of the severity and length of injuries to key players. When you add those injuries to the healthy players that Pioli had to leave off of the Champions League List A, our prospects for the Chelsea match on Wednesday are... very young. One might even say "like lambs to the slaughter."

We have to hold on to what we've got and hope for the best

Chelsea may have won the Champions League just two years ago, but that was a different Chelsea. They literally had a different owner, and more recently, a different coach. After a shock loss to Dinamo Zagreb in their first Champions League Group Stage match, Tuchel was sacked and Graham Potter was brought in. Their match vs. Salzburg in the Champions League was not only his first in charge, but also his first ever Champions League match he had ever attended, even as a fan. While he escaped that one with a point, this match will only be his second, even if he will have the home crowd to support him.

On Saturday, Potter managed to get a win in is first Premier League match in charge of Chelsea, with the other matches having been postponed due to the death of Queen Elizabeth II. That 2-1 win away to Crystal Palace offers his side some momentum heading into Wednesday's match. Against Crystal Palace, Potter lied up Kepa; James, Fofana, former Milan defender Thiago Silva, Chilwell; Kovačić, Jorginho, Havertz, Mount, Sterling, and former Milan youth player Aubameyang. As of Tuesday's press conference, Potter had recovered all of his players and had his entire squad available. However, there are reports that Jorginho and Havertz risk missing the match due to minor issues. 

He's new to the Champions League, but also gives Chelsea new motivation

Pioli has recovered Origi, who finally trained fully with the squad on Monday, but is still missing the other eight players as of the end of the win vs. Empoli on Saturday. Ibrahimović had been left of the Champions League list, and Maignan was taken off of the list after his injury, replaced by Tatarusanu. But Calabria, Kjaer, Saelemaekers, Theo Hernández, Messias, and Florenzi were all on the original list and will be sorely missed. 

Mr. Champions League, Saelemaekers, who had astonishingly scored in both of our previous Group Stage matches, is now out until January with a partial tear of the medial cruciate ligament. Calabria, our fearless captain, is also ruled out until January with a serious muscle lesion. Kjaer will likely only miss two to three weeks, but having so many important players out at this point in the season is absolutely devastating. We can only hope that all of our players heal quickly and thoroughly.

4 of our starters from Salzburg are out, including our starting GK, both of our starting fullbacks, and our only scorer in that match

With healthy players like Adli, Vranckx, Thiaw, and even... dare I say... the on-loan-from Chelsea Bakayoko all unavailable due to not being on the list, Pioli will definitely need to use players from List B, who are youth players. This is unfortunate for Abate, whose Milan Primavera side are also at the top of their group, and have been starting to hit their stride in the league as well, and will miss those players called up by Pioli.

This match is a special one for a legend like Shevchenko, who played for both clubs. The match will also be special for players like Giroud and Tomori, who came from Chelsea and know what it is like to play at Stamford Bridge. While Milan players got some experience in the Champions League last season, they are still a relatively young squad, and with so many youth players called up could potentially be even less experienced. We have three players in the squad who have won the Champions League - Giroud, Theo Hernández, and Origi, but Giroud is the only one expected to start this match. 

Here's hoping Giroud and Tomori slide back into Stamford Bridge something like this

Giroud and Pioli took the time to preview the match before leaving for London, and neither of them made excuses for the missing players, but I will. Because it is absolutely terrifying as a fan to witness your team's Champions League dreams hanging in the balance, and the pendulum in that balance being pulled yet again by an extraordinary amount of injuries. Milan suffered on Saturday and won, but at the price of four more injured players. Heading to London for this match, they could either win through suffering again, or suffer another fate. Either way, it feels like lambs to the slaughter.

This post inspired by the music of the Sneaker Pimps' "6 Underground"

Our next match is 
Champions League Group Stage
Chelsea vs Milan
Wednesday, October 5 • 21:00 CEST (3pm EDT)
This match can be streamed LIVE on Paramount+ in the U.S.

UEFA Youth League
Chelsea FC U19 vs. AC Milan Primavera
Wednesday, October 5 • 16:00 CEST (10am EDT)
This match can be streamed LIVE on

Champions League Group Stage • Chelsea FC vs. AC Milan: Like Lambs to the Slaughter Champions League Group Stage • Chelsea FC vs. AC Milan: Like Lambs to the Slaughter Reviewed by Elaine on 5:15 PM Rating: 5
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