With a 3-0 advantage from the first leg, Chelsea will look to finish the job as they travel to Ukraine to face Dynamo Kyiv in the round-of-16 Europa League 2nd leg match at NSC Olimpiyskiy, in Kiev, Ukraine, Ukraine, on Thursday night (IST).
What competition it is? Europa League, Leg 2 of 2
Teams: Dynamo Kyiv and Chelsea
Kick Off: Thursday 14 March
Match Timing: 11:25PM (IST)
Where the game is played? NSC Olimpiyskiy (70,050)
TV Info: Ten Sports Network has the rights to stream UEFA Europa League matches in India. While the premier members can also catch the action live on SonyLiv App.
Prior to the meeting against Chelsea, Dynamo Kyiv have had a relatively easy passage in the Europa League. But against the Blues, they looked bereft of a fighting spirit and certainly lacked a cutting edge against a big team at Stamford Bridge. The 3-0 scoreline did flatter them to some extent and it could have been more telling had Maurizio Sarri’s men converted few more.
So in some sense, the hosts in this match are lucky to face a 0-3 deficit from the first leg. Can they overturn it at NSC OlimPiyskiy and in front of their fans, is a different matter altogether. But we can expect a different Kyiv team in this match.
Manager Alyaksandr Khatskevich is coming under some pressure from the home fans. Failing to reach the Champions League was a big blow at the start of the season as they were eliminated from the playoffs by Ajax, resulting Kyiv’s relegation into the Europa Legaue.
However, the biggest let down is Kyiv’s inability to close down the gap on leaders Shakhtar Donetsk. At the moment, they trail their eternal rivals by 7 points. It’s a gap which is too big and may not be overturned in the remaining 11 matches. If that happens, it will be Shakhtar’s 8 Premier League title in the last 10 seasons.
The pressure is certainly growing on Alyaksandr Khatskevich, not just to perform in this match but to challenge Shakhtar better in the Ukrainian Premier League.
Chelsea are tournament favorites and up until now, they have been playing like that. They topped their group, winning five matches in the process, and made a little work of Malmo in the last round.
But Maurizio Sarri is still feeling the heat. Chelsea are far away from their best in the Premier League this season. From enjoying the tag of Premier League Dark Horses, the Blues are now battling to finish in the top 4. That challenge got a little hit at the weekend as they could only draw 1-1 at Stamford Bridge against Wolves.
The Champions League is Chelsea’s priority, and Sarri will have to deliver. It’s a two-way road leading to that target. If not from the position on the Premier Legaue table, then it can come by winning the Europa League. But it’s imperative. We have seen in the past how Roman Abramovich deals with the manager’s failure to achieve the targets.
It could be a sayonara!
Dynamo Kyiv – D W W W L W
Chelsea – W L W W W D
Injured – Clean bill of health.
Suspended – Midfielder Vitaliy Buyalskyi picked up a yellow card at Stamford Bridge and will be serving a one-game ban.
Questionable – None.
Note: Winger Benjamin Verbic is available for selection after missing the last leg due to a suspension.
Key Players – Shaparenko, Sidcley; Verbic
Injured – Chelsea have no apparent injury concerns as of now, but changes can still be made by Sarri from the last match.
Suspended – None.
Questionable – None.
Note: One of the players who is set to start is Callum Hudson-Odoi. The 18-year-old starred in the first leg and scored a goal as well. While Olivier Giroud should replace Gonzalo Higuain in the starting line-up. Willian came off the bench against Wolves and he is in line to start here.
Key Players – Hudson-Odoi, Giroud, Willian
Dynamo Kyiv – Boyko (GK), Kedziora, Burda, Shabanov, Mykolenko; Sydorchuk, Harmash; Tsygankov, Shaparenko, Sidcley; Verbic
Chelsea – Caballero / Kepa (GK), Zappacosta, Rudiger, Christensen, Alonso; Kovacic, Jorginho, Barkley; Pedro, Giroud, Hudson-Odoi
History suggests Chelse have done enough in the first leg to advance to the next round. After all, 73 times out of 81 teams boasting a 3-goal advantage from the 1st leg have qualified to the next round.
Chelsea are favorites and we back them to win the match.
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