Thursday 7 March: 8pm
Live on BT Sport
Maurizio Sarri seems to be riding the storm at Stamford Bridge and there’s no sign of the dreaded axe. His side still have a good chance of making it into next season’s Champions League via their league position, but the Europa League is a good back-up plan. They begin their bid to reach the quarter-finals with a home leg against Dynamo Kiev.
You can get odds of 4/1 (5.0) on Chelsea winning the Europa League this season. Doing so would guarantee them a place in next season’s Champions League. With the Blues currently sixth in the English Premier League but are 10/11 (1.91) at Betway on finishing in the top four and qualifying for the Champions League in that way.
It’s not been an easy first couple of months of 2019 for Chelsea. There’s been some heavy losses in the Premier League, a fourth-round exit in the FA Cup and defeat in the final of the Carabao Cup. Despite all of that and a few problems with players (particularly a certain goalkeeper), Maurizio Sarri has avoided being sacked as manager.
Excluding penalty shoot-outs, Chelsea have gone four league and cup games without defeat. The fact their away performances have improved will give them greater hope of progressing in this tie.
Firstly, they host Dynamo Kiev at Stamford Bridge looking to get a first leg lead. The last five home games at Stamford Bridge have only produced one defeat. That was the loss to Manchester United in the FA Cup.
Chelsea haven’t had many Europa League campaigns but they can boast having never lost a home game. Four home games in this season’s competition have all been won and by an aggregate of 11-1. Another home win is more than likely in this game, hence the short odds of 3/10 (1.3) at SkyBet to beat Kiev.
Dynamo Kiev are second in the Ukraine Premier League but seven points behind Shakhtar Donetsk. They have a good chance of making it into the Champions League which is just where they started this season.
Their Champions League campaign got as far as the play-off round where they lost to Ajax. They drew both of their away games (making it seven away Champions League games without a win) before being transferred into the Europa League. Kiev won their group finishing ahead of Rennes, Astana and Jablonec, not exactly the hardest of opponents. They won two and drew one of their away games. Only one of their last ten away games in the Europa League have been lost but It’s 10/1 (11.0) at Coral that they win at Stamford Bridge.
The two teams met in the 2015/16 Champions League. Chelsea won 2-1 at home and drew 0-0 in Kiev. Willian scored the winning goal four years ago and is 13/8 (2.61) to score in Thursday’s game.
Both teams will make changes for this Europa League tie. For Chelsea that means Olivier Giraud and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are likely to start.
Giroud Loves the Europa League
Olivier Giroud may not be setting the Premier League on fire but he’s going great guns in this competition. He’s scored in each of the last five Chelsea Europa League games with six goals altogether. He’s 6/5 (2.2) at Unibet to score in this game and 4/1 (5.0) at SportPesa to be the first goal scorer.
Chelsea Clean Sheet
Chelsea have won four of their last five home games in all competitions and all with a clean sheet. That’s something they’ll been keen to do in this match. They are 3/4 (1.75) at William Hill to avoid conceding against Kiev and 7/10 (1.7) at 888sport to win to nil.
Dynamo Kiev have never won a European game in England and that’s a record likely to remain intact this week. Chelsea have recovered well in the past few weeks and can get the win in this game. A bet on them winning and leading at both half and full time has odds of 5/6 (1.83) at Paddy Power.