Chelsea will travel to Ukraine to take on Dynamo Kyiv in the second leg of the Europa League Round of 16 tie. The Blues claimed a 3-0 lead in the first leg at Stamford Bridge, and they will hope to finish the job in Kiev. Dynamo will host Chelsea knowing that they will have to pull off an incredible comeback to progress to the quarter-finals.
Maurizio Sarri has an easy task, as the 3-0 lead has provided him with a comfortable cushion. His side have not lost a single game in the Europa League this season, winning eight of their nine matches so far. Pedro, Willian, and Callum Hudson-Odoi scored last week in London to give Chelsea a substantial advantage.
Chelsea’s form has improved markedly in the last couple of weeks. They are unbeaten in their previous four games, but Wolves highlighted on Sunday that the Blues can still be stifled. Eden Hazard’s brilliant late equalizer salvaged a point for Chelsea then, but Wolves kept Sarri’s side at bay for most of the game.
Dynamo Kyiv vs Chelsea Preview
Dynamo coach Alyaksandr Khatskevich know that his side faces an uphill task. They warmed up for the clash with a 4-0 win over Arsenal Kyiv in the Ukranian Premier League on Sunday. Khatskevich’s team is yet to concede a goal on their home turf since the winter break, which is encouraging. An away goal from Chelsea will mean that Dynamo will need five, so keeping a clean sheet is even more critical.
They will welcome back Benjamin Verbic after suspension, and he will provide an attacking boost to the lineup. Vitaliy Buyalskiy will not feature for Dynamo, as he will serve a one-match ban.
Chelsea fans will hope that Hudson-Odoi will get the start, which will enable Sarri to rest the likes of Hazard and Pedro. Olivier Giroud will take the starting spot from Gonzalo Higuain, as the Frenchman has enjoyed playing in the Europa League this season. He has scored 6 goals in the competition so far this campaign. The likes of Marcos Alonso, Davide Zappacosta, and Andreas Christensen should also start, as neither of them are first-choice players right now.
Despite playing away from home, Chelsea will be the favorites going into the tie. Even though a defensive approach will be enough for them, the chances are that they will still dominate the ball. The two sides have met three times previously, and Chelsea have won twice, drawing once.
Finishing in the top four in the Premier League is far from a certainty for Chelsea as it stands. The Europa League could prove to be the best route into the Champions League for next season. The Blues remain one of the heavyweights left, and they will compete with the likes of Arsenal and Napoli for the title.
Even though Dynamo need to win, the quality of Chelsea’ players should see them through. The home side will give it their best shot in attack as the game progresses, which will leave gaps open for Chelsea to exploit and seal the tie.