PMB: Dynamo Kiev v Chelsea - matchday

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

• Maurizio Sarri was delighted not to concede at home in the first leg of a round in which the away-goals rule applies. ‘We have to go there with a very good level of attention and application if we want to qualify,’ he still warned. An early goal would deflate the big crowd and perhaps put the tie beyond the hosts. The Londoners have netted seven times in the opening half-hour of Europa League matches without conceding.

• After his set-piece stunner in the home leg, Willian has had a hand in at least one goal in seven different Europa League matches (scoring three, setting up five) of the nine he has played. It was his 11th goal in all competitions direct from a free-kick since arriving in London, and the Blues’ fourth in this competition – the most by any club. Only Arsenal (18 matches) have faced the Brazil winger more times than Dynamo (17).

Ross Barkley would be able to draw on experience of the stadium this evening, though his memories of Everton’s loss in 2015 will not be pleasant ones – he hit the post twice in a 4-6 aggregate defeat. The midfielder is one caution away from a ban. Gonzalo Higuain stayed at home to recuperate from a fever ahead the vital trip to Barkley’s old club Everton on Sunday.


• Three close-range finishes and a penalty produced a 4-0 weekend win against Arsenal Kiev for Dynamo on their return to domestic action. Coach Olexandr Khatskevych was forced into four changes after their Stamford Bridge exertions, omitting goalkeeper Denys Boyko, right-back Tomasz Kedziora, defensive midfielder Serhiy Sydorchuk and centre-forward Nazariy Rusyn.

• The White-Blues hoped tonight they could recall winger Benjamin Verbic, their most creative player, after suspension last week, but he is out due to illness. Vitaliy Buyalskiy received a third caution of the campaign at the Bridge and is banned, and there are concerns about a muscle problem for Rusyn, who led the line in London in the absence of injured striker Fran Sol. Kedziora, Denys Harmash and Volodymyr Shepeliev are one yellow card away from suspension.

• Urged on by their biggest crowd for years, the hosts are likely to harass the Blues’ midfield more than was the case in London and take the game more to the visitors. Khatskevych hailed his side’s improved second-half showing at the Bridge, in which they pressed higher up the pitch and kept the hosts at bay. However, the White-Blues need a minimum of three goals to progress and have scored only six at home over the entire campaign.

Maurizio Sarri's pre-match quotes

‘Mentally it’s a very difficult match, because we can undervalue the opponent. I know very well they are dangerous. I saw their other matches in the Europa League and they played very good football. They played very well in the last match here against Olympiacos.

‘So it’s a very dangerous match for us. We need to go on the pitch with the target to win the match, not to qualify, otherwise we will be in trouble. Our target is to win the match, and qualification will be a consequence.’

Dynamo boss Olexandr Khatskevych's pre-match quotes 

‘We will have to play in a more offensive way taking into account we lost the first game 0-3. We hope we'll try to score quickly, maybe. Miracles do occur in football and why not it occurs in this game. The score of the first game makes us go forward.’


The Man in the Middle

Referee Tobias Stieler and his assistants are from Germany. This is his first involvement in a Chelsea match.

Matchday weather outlook

Cloudy and cool in Ukraine tonight.


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