The Blues may be well-placed in the tie but there is a job still to be done near the banks of the Dnieper River. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton put the spotlight on the second leg…
Chelsea, who boast the most wins in this season’s Europa League campaign and are unbeaten in the competition for the past 12 matches, take a commanding 3-0 lead into the second leg at the Olympic stadium, Kiev, tonight.
The Londoners have won 11 of the previous 15 European ties following a first leg victory at Stamford Bridge and know that with the away-goals rule, finding the net would leave the hosts needing to net five times. The Blues have only conceded four times over nine matches in this campaign to date.
Among the teams still in this season’s Europa League, only Eintracht Frankfurt (six) are on a longer unbeaten run on the road than Chelsea’s five (four wins and a draw).
Ninety per cent of sides to score at least three goals in the first leg of a Europa League knockout tie have progressed to the next round (73 out of 81).
— Key stat
While we were thankful for a late stunner from Eden Hazard to salvage a point at home to Wolves, Dynamo shook last Thursday’s 3-0 loss in London out of their system with a scoreline they require tonight: a 4-0 thrashing of bottom-placed rivals Arsenal Kiev in the Ukrainian league. The playing surface, it has to be said, looked quite cut up in parts.
Ahead of the second leg the Kievans’ forward Vitaliy Buialskyi (who is suspended) admitted, ‘[Chelsea] showed us how to play football. First of all we want to demonstrate admirable play in front of our supporters [on Thursday].’
A near-full house is expected, though the weekend Kiev derby was watched by only 6,868 spectators, almost half their average attendance at the 70,000-capacity Olympic National Sports Centre, exposing swathes of empty seats in the traditional national colours of yellow and blue.
The reconstructed multipurpose venue was opened in 2011 with a concert by ‘Hips Don’t Lie’ singer Shakira and hosted the 2018 Champions League final in which Real Madrid ‘Waka Waka’-ed Liverpool 3-1, watched by a crowd of 61,561.
Chelsea’s draw in the 2015/16 group stage of the same competition drew Dynamo’s sixth largest attendance in the new arena; tonight’s is expected to be bigger.
(Since 2011 reconstruction)
The Ukrainians are strong at home but have lost twice domestically and once in the group stage of this competition to Jablonec, who are currently fourth in the Czech league.
The White-Blues have recovered from away first-leg defeats in Europe, but not one so heavy as 0-3. Three years ago they twice came back from narrow first-leg away defeats in the Europa League knockout rounds by winning in Ukraine.
In the Round of 32, the Kievans beat Ligue 1 Guingamp 3-1, overturning a 1-2 loss in France, then in the next stage routed Ross Barkley’s Everton 5-2 in front 67,553 home supporters having gone down 1-2 at Goodison.
However Dynamo bowed out to Lazio at this stage of last season’s competition with a 0-2 home defeat having drawn 2-2 in Rome. Their last visitors from England, Man City in the 2015/16 Champions League Round of 16, won 3-1.
The 3-0 in London last week established a far more daunting edifice to climb, and what impressed coach Olexandr Khatskevych was the intensity of Chelsea’s play: ‘totally different to the Ukraine championship,’ he commented.
Asked what his side lacked most against the Blues, experience or skill, the Dynamo coach smiled and replied: ‘Both. It’s all about our opponents’ class and quality. And our nervousness also made its impact as we committed lots of simple mistakes. But it’s not only us who couldn’t get to Chelsea’s half of the pitch there – Tottenham had the same difficulties recently.’
Completing the job tonight would put Chelsea’s name in the quarter-finals and semi-finals draws to made on Friday from around 12 midday. There are no seedings and teams can play others from the same country. The nominal ‘home' side in the final will also be selected.
HOW THE OTHER TIES STAND
Salzburg (0) Napoli (3)
Salzburg undefeated in 17 home UEFA matches, winning 13
Krasnodar (1) Valencia (2)
Krasnodar won two of three previous home games against Spanish teams
Arsenal (1) Rennes (3)
Arsenal won three of 13 ties after losing first leg away
Benfica (0) Dinamo Zagreb (1)
Dinamo lost without scoring on all six trips to Portugal
Inter (0) Eintracht Frankfurt (0)
Inter won last six ties after drawing first leg away
Slavia Prague (2) Sevilla (2)
Slavia on a run of four successive clean sheets at home
Villarreal (3) Zenit (1)
Zenit won on last two trips to Spain
Olivier Giroud, who could make the 50th European appearance of his career this evening, is the third-top goalscorer in the competition.
Europa League top scorers
Wissam Ben Yedder (Sevilla) 7
Munas Dabbur (Salzburg) 7
Olivier Giroud (Chelsea) 6
Luka Jovic (Frankfurt) 6
Giovani Lo Celso (Real Betis) 5
Europa League most assists
Igor Stasevich (BATE) 7
Willian (Chelsea) 5
Andreas Ulmer (Salzburg) 4
Mijat Gacinovic (Frankfurt) 4
Viktor Tsygankov (Dynamo Kiev) 4
Near the end of the first leg last Thursday, Callum Hudson-Odoi finished in fine style to make it 3-0. Already one of the youngest players to score in the competition, aged 18 years and 22 days when he netted against PAOK in November, the teenager has now had a hand in four goals.
Only one player aged 18 or younger – Gent’s Arnaud Souquet – has racked up better minutes-per-goal involvement stats than the Blues’ winger since the Europa League was reformatted for the 2009/10 season.
Souquet’s former team-mate at Lille, Eden Hazard, is fourth and striker Michy Batshuayi, then of Standard Liege and currently on loan at Crystal Palace, seventh on this Chelsea- and Belgium-dominated list of ‘teenage kicks’.
Europa League mins-per-goal involvement aged 18 or younger
Arnaud Souquet 45.0
Callum Hudson-Odoi 80.8
Yassine Benzia 93.5
Eden Hazard 102.7
Myziane Maolida 106.0
Louis Verstraete 107.0
Michy Batshuayi 123.0
In terms of simple numbers by under-18s in the competition’s history, Romelu Lukaku leads the way with seven (five goals, two assists), followed by Ajax’s Zakaria Labyad and Blibao’s Iker Muniain on five (both with two goals, three assists), then Hudson-Odoi with four (three goals, one assist).
Cobham’s next generation, meanwhile, now stand alone flying the flag for English football in the UEFA Youth League quarter-finals. Man United Under-19s lost to Midtjylland of Denmark, Spurs were beaten at Porto and Liverpool lost out to the young Blues’ next opponents, Dinamo Zagreb, after penalties.
THE BEST THAT CAN HAPPEN THIS EVENING…
Into the last eight in Europe for the 17th time in our history.
Tonight’s Round of 16 fixtures
Dynamo Kiev v Chelsea 5.55pm
Krasnodar v Valencia 5.55pm
Salzburg v Napoli 5.55pm
Arsenal v Rennes 8pm
Benfica v Dinamo Zagreb 8pm
Inter Milan v Eintract Frankfurt 8pm
Slavia Prague v Sevilla 8pm
Villarreal v Zenit 8pm