Match Preview

PMB: BATE Borisov v Chelsea - matchday

The final part of the Pre-Match Briefing gets you ready for today's game...

• Maurizio Sarri has favoured pretty much the same personnel so far in Europe. Ten of Chelsea’s starting line-up against BATE last time out were the same as the previous game in this competition, the exception being a start for Olivier Giroud ahead of Alvaro Morata.

• The Blues dominated possession in London and might have netted more goals before a late consolation for the Belarusians. Naturally, hat-trick hero Ruben Loftus-Cheek will hope to pick up where he left off. Much of the action took place on the Blues’ left flank where he and Willian took the game to their opponents and dominated them.

• Willian and Eden Hazard both have 10 goals to their name in European competitions. Hazard and Jorginho travelled to Minsk, though the Belgian has yet to start in this competition and in the last two games Cesc Fabregas has taken the central midfield anchor role. Like Morata, Fabregas has not flown to Belarus.

• ‘Dominant football, ball control, crazy speeds,’ was how coach Aleksei Baga summed up BATE’s experience against Chelsea a fortnight ago. ‘Our task was to adapt to all this as quickly as possible.’ The former defender will hope to avoid another early setback: his side conceded a total of five in the opening 15 minutes against PAOK and the Blues.

• Left-winger Igor Stasevich was arguably the Belarusians’ most effective player in London, the captain setting up right-back Aleksei Rios for his goal. They passed the ball well from midfield to attack, but always looked fragile in defence, especially facing crosses and corners, and against the pace of Willian and Pedro.

• No BATE player has yet scored at home in this competition as their goal in the 4-1 defeat by PAOK came from Jose Angel Crespo, deflecting Maxim Skavysh’s header into his own net. They did manage two last year at home to Arsenal in this competition, though the Gunners won 4-2.


Referee Nikola Dabanovic and his assistants are from Montenegro. This is his first Chelsea match.

Matchday weather outlook

We are set for a dry but cold night in Belarus.