Chelsea play Dynamo Kyiv in the first leg of their Europa League round of 16 tie at Stamford Bridge on Thursday night.
Chelsea come into this tie on good form, since their loss in the Carabao Cup almost 2 weeks ago.
Since the Cup final loss, Chelsea have won 2 games on the bounce in the Premier League. Firstly against Tottenham last Wednesday, and recently on Sunday against Fulham.
Chelsea’s last game in their Europa League was came against Malmo at home, when the Blues eased past the Swedish side by 3-0, to earn their place to the round of 16, by an aggregate score of 5-1.
Their visitors for the first leg (Dynamo Kyiv), come into this game on the back of two consecutive wins in the League. They picked up a 2-1 win away to Desna at the weekend.
The Ukrainian side earned their place in the round of sixteen, after an impressive 1-0 win at home at Olympiacos in their second leg, which took them through on an aggregate score of 3-2.
Recent form for both sides in all competitions
Dynamo Kyiv- DWDWWW
Team News (Credit/Source- SportsMole)
Sarri is expected to continue with his rotation policy for this match, which comes three days before the Premier League visit of Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The Italian made a huge call by dropping and then recalling Kepa Arrizabalaga between games with Tottenham and Fulham last week. Kepa performed well on his return to the side on the banks of the Thames, but Willy Caballero tends to be preferred in the Europa League, starting the Blues’ last two matches.
Olivier Giroud has had to rely on cup competitions for playing time, as have a number of other fringe players, and the Frenchman appears certain to replace Gonzalo Higuain through the middle on Thursday.
Academy products Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi are also pushing for inclusion, which would give the likes of N’Golo Kante and Eden Hazard a welcome breather.
Dynamo will be without suspended winger Benjamin Verbic, meanwhile, as he picked up another yellow against Olympiacos last time out to trigger an automatic ban.
That is a big loss for Khatskevich as Verbic has scored 12 times this season, including a double in the comfortable win against Zorya Luhansk last week.
Versatile Brazilian wideman Sidcley may therefore come in for his first appearance of 2019, but there is unlikely to be a place for Tamas Kadar in the starting lineup because he has managed just a few minutes of playing time this calendar year.
Predicted Starting elevens
Chelsea’s predicted starting eleven- Caballero; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Christensen, Alonso; Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic; Hudson-Odoi, Giroud, Pedro.
Dynamo Kyiv’s predicted starting eleven- Boyko; Kedziora, Burda, Shabanov, Mykolenko; Shepelev, Buyalskiy; Tysgankov, Shaparenko, Sidcley; Sol.
Chelsea Manager: Maurizio Sarri (Quotes Credit- Nizaar Kinsella)
Sarri on injuries: “We have no injuries. Of course, we have some players who are very tired. The last week was really very hard for us.”
Sarri on team to face Dynamo Kyiv: “We need to consider very well and to rest some players I think.”
Sarri on managing at Chelsea next season: “It is not a big problem, the problem is results. The rest isn’t important in this moment, I want to win for the team and club but not for me. I am confident, I was in the past and I am now, of course.”
Sarri on winning the Europa League to qualify for Champions League: “I think we can gain the spot for the Champions League through the Premier League, we are fighting. Only two points off with one more match.” Adds he wants to win the Europa League because it is important.
Sarri on Dynamo threat: “They are a good team, physical team, young team, very dangerous in counter-attacks because they have two very fast wingers. We need two good performances, our target is to play the same football both home and away.”
Sarri on Hudson-Odoi: “Callum is always in my mind for every match. I don’t know if tomorrow he will be on the pitch or not. I think also you have to put less pressure to young English players, they need to improve. I have never seen 18 year old player at the top”
Sarri on Hudson-Odoi’s opportunities: “Callum as all other young players in England, needs to improve, it is important for him to improve. He will then be at the top at 22,23, without pressure, I think you put too much pressure on the young English players.”
Chelsea Player: David Luiz (Quotes Credit- Nizaar Kinsella)
Luiz on Chelsea’s recovery of late: “In that moment, we turned a negative moment into a positive moment. After the defeat to City in Manchester, it wasn’t easy to overturn that. Especially in the final and vs Tottenham. I think we could have won the final in normal time.”
Luiz on what reversed negative Chelsea form: “I think before, we have to be strong and intelligent to find a solution. Sometimes for the meetings is to find the solution and we did that. Sometimes you find the solution in the first meeting or you need more.”
Luiz on Sarri behind the scenes: “He is a great human and a great human doesn’t change their character because of the situations”
Head to Head record
These sides have met two times in all competitions, and both of these games came in the 2015 Champions League season. The first game ended in a 0-0 draw in Kyiv.
But the last game between the two sides was settled by a beautiful Willian free kick from long range, which sent Chelsea through to the round of the 32 in the Champions League.
Betting Odds/Match Predictions
Bet 365 have made Chelsea favourites to take a lead to Ukraine for the second leg. A win for the Blues in this first leg is bing priced at 3/10. A draw between these two sides is being predicted at 17/4. And a surprise win for Dynamo Kyiv in this first leg is being priced at 9/1.
My realistic prediction for this 1st leg is a 2-1 Chelsea win. I think Chelsea have more quality than Kyiv, but they will look to sit back and defend,- to ensure that they are in the tie for the second leg in Ukraine.
My optimistic prediction as a Chelsea fan for this first leg is a 3-0 Chelsea win. If the team turns up, then they could potentially kill off the tie in the first leg. I think Hudson-Odoi, Pedro and Giroud will score the goals for Chelsea.
Comment down below your score predictions for this match. Do you agree with my predicted eleven.
By Danyal Khan