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Al Hilal vs Chelsea in the Club World Cup on Feb 9. 2022 - Odds & Prediction

Al Hilal vs Chelsea in the Club World Cup on Feb 9. 2022 - Odds & Prediction

Chelsea make their 2021 Club World Cup bow at the semi-final stage, but they can’t afford to take any liberties as they take on an Al Hilal side who were in superb form in the previous round.

The Saudi Arabian side dismantled Al Jazira with a scintillating attacking display on Sunday in what was an emphatic 6-1 victory, and although Chelsea will be strong favourites for this one, there are some familiar faces that could cause the Londoners some problems.

But we do expect Thomas Tuchel’s side to progress, so let’s see if we can dig some value out of this Club World Cup semi-final.

  • Kindly note that all information in this preview, including whether or not the event will take place, is subject to change due to Covid-19.
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Match Odds and Both teams to ScoreChelsea
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Chelsea To Win And Both Teams To Score

Chelsea come into the Club World Cup on a run of just one defeat in 15 games in all competitions, but they weren’t at all convincing in their 2-1 extra-time victory over third-tier Plymouth in the FA Cup at the weekend.

And it could well have gone to penalties, but Kepa Arrizabalega’s save from an 118th minute spot-kick saved some Stamford Bridge blushes as Chelsea squeezed through to the next round.

But they face a side who are scoring goals by the lorry-load in Al Hilal. The Blue Waves have found the net 23 times in their last seven games, and with the attacking quality at their disposal, they should be able to create one or two opportunities on Wednesday.

Clean sheets have been a problem for them in the Saudi Professional League, though, with only one of them in their last half-dozen games, and Chelsea have more than enough class to take advantage of that defensive frailty.

But we think they can catch Chelsea cold, so let’s go for the Blues win and both teams to score at 9/5 with Sportnation

Al Hilal Form, squad news, opinion

It hasn’t been a great season domestically for Al Hilal, who trail league leaders Al-Ittihad by 13 points with just eleven games to go.

But in a cup format, they’re a dangerous proposition. Premier League fans will recognise one or two names in this squad, with former West Bom midfielder Matheus Pereira acting as the chief creative hub in the final third, while up front, Odion Ighalo was no stranger to a goal for either Manchester United or Watford.

And in Moussa Marega they have a striker of genuine quality, having spent four successful years at Portuguese giants Porto. Former Watford man Andre Carrillo is another star of this side, and incidentally, all four of the aforementioned players found the net in their 6-1 win on Sunday.

This will be their first appearance at the Club World Cup since the 2019 edition, when they reached the semi-final stage before being knocked out by Brazilian side Flamengo.

And we’re expecting a near unchanged Al Hilal side for Wednesday’s clash with the UEFA Champions League winners.

Chelsea Form, squad news, opinion

It hasn’t been completely rosey for Chelsea, despite their decent run of form, but they head into February battling on four trophy fronts.

Well, only just.

The Premier League title certainly looks beyond them now, thanks to a ten-point deficit to Manchester City, but they have a League Cup final against Liverpool to look forward to at the end of the month, and in the Champions League they have what should be a straightforward last-16 tie against Lille.

The form of Romelu Lukaku continues to be an issue, with the Belgian’s only goal in 2022 coming against fifth-division Chesterfield in the third round of the FA Cup. Aside from the 28-year-old, the squad lacks a striker of real guile, so when he isn’t firing, they don’t look a particularly dangerous side.

But we are perhaps being a tad harsh. City and Liverpool are playing at another level at the moment and Chelsea can’t do much more than they are doing, especially when you consider a run that has seen them lose just twice in their last 28 games.

They will have too much for Al Hilal, but they may have to put in more of a fight than they anticipated.

History

It won’t come as much of a surprise to learn that this will be the first ever meeting between these two sides.

About the Venue

This Club World Cup semi-final clash takes place at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, which is where Al Hilal enjoyed success in their quarter-final thrashing at the weekend.

Chelsea are looking at a seven-hour flight to get here, but the 37,500-seater is relatively local to Al Hilal, who are based “only” around 1100km away in the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh.

Conclusion

We certainly expect Chelsea to seal their place in the Club World Cup final, but this one is a potential banana skin.

Al Hilal have the players to cause some problems, but man for man, Chelsea should have way too much quality over the course of the 90 minutes. Experience at the highest level, as well as international class throughout the side, should see them through.

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