Dynamo Kiev v Chelsea: Dynamo to finally strike a few sparks
Chelsea have an iron grip on this last-16 tie, but Kevin Hatchard thinks that could lead to an entertaining second leg.
"Chelsea have looked a little more defensively vulnerable on the road than they have at home in the Europa League, and Dynamo have to push for goals here."
Dynamo Kiev v Chelsea
Thursday March 14, 17:55
Live on BT Sport
Chelsea marching towards the quarter-finals
While their form in the Premier League continues to be unpredictable, Chelsea have been ruthlessly consistent in the Europa League. They are unbeaten in this season's competition, and they maintained their 100% home record in the UEL with a 3-0 first-leg win over a depleted and soon-demoralised Dynamo Kiev.
Willian has been exceptionally good in this competition, and he caught the eye with a splendid free-kick. Pedro scored a stunning opener, but could've had a hat-trick, and the promising Callum Hudson-Odoi scored his third goal of the competition. Olivier Giroud didn't extend his long scoring streak in the Europa League, but he did produce a sublime drag-back for Pedro's goal.
There'll be a temptation to rotate the squad, with big tests ahead in the top flight, but Sarri has selected strong teams throughout this competition. There may be starts for Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, but don't expect too many risks to be taken.
Dynamo failed to produce shock in London
Dynamo Kiev arrived at Stamford Bridge last Thursday with an unbeaten away record in this season's Europa League, and a genuine belief that they could cause an upset. However, without an experienced striker they failed to keep the ball in the Chelsea half, and it was only at 2-0 down that they started to play some neat and tidy football. They made a judgement to push for the away goal at that stage, and were then brutally punished for that audacity on the counter.
Now all that remains is to try and apply pressure and find a way back into the tie, but it's a grim prospect. The Ukrainian giants have won just two of their last six UEL home matches, and the last time they managed a scoreline that would even force extra time in this tie was all the way back in 2013, when they beat Swiss side FC Thun 3-0.
Top scorer Benjamin Verbic, who was sorely missed at Stamford Bridge, is back from suspension. Spanish striker Fran Sol is injured, so the inexperienced Nazariy Rusyn will once again lead the line. Vitaliy Buyalski is suspended.
Chelsea clear favourites to enhance their lead
Chelsea are already in total command of this tie, and if they were to score an away goal, then Dynamo would suddenly need to score at least five goals to progress. That simply isn't going to happen, and I'm tempted to back the Blues to win the second leg at [2.24].
However, they haven't quite been as good on the road in the UEL as they have been at home. They were a bit fortunate to win at BATE Borisov, they drew 2-2 at Vidi in a game that didn't mean that much, and they only won 2-1 at Malmo.
Both teams to find the net as Dynamo push to recover
Dynamo have to make this a fairly open game if they are to have any chance of putting Chelsea under pressure, and I think Chelsea can catch them on the counter. However, I also think Dynamo will make chances - the excellent Verbic is back in their line-up, he'll play alongside talented midfielders like Mykola Shaparenko and Viktor Tsygankov, and Chelsea have conceded three goals across their last two Europa League away matches.
I'll go for Both Teams To Score here at [1.97].
Kevin Hatchard 2018-19 Europa League P/L
Points Staked: 51
Points Returned: 49.65
P/L: -1.35 points
Back Both Teams To Score at [1.97]