The teams: Slavia Prague v Chelsea

As he indicated yesterday, Maurizio Sarri rotates his selection by making seven changes from the side that started against West Ham on Monday. 

Europa League topscorer Olivier Giroud returns up front to be flanked by Pedro and Willian. There is a start for Andreas Christensen alongside Toni Rudiger in defence with Marcos Alonso also returning. 

Mateo Kovacic and Ross Barkley will play ahead of Jorginho in midfield. 

Former Chelsea player Miroslav Stoch starts for Slavia, who replace suspended midfielder Tomas Soucek with Petr Sevcik from their previous Europa League line-up when they beat Sevilla. Peter Olayinka is preferred to Milan Skoda as their centre-forward. 

Chelsea (4-3-3): Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta (c), Christensen, Rudiger, Alonso; Barkley, Jorginho, Kovacic; Willian, Giroud, Pedro.

Subs Caballero, David Luiz, Zappacosta, Kante, Loftus-Cheek, Hazard, Higuain.

Slavia Prague (4-2-3-1): Kolar; Coufel, Ngadeu-Ngadjul, Deli (c), Boril; Traore, Kral; Stoch, Sevcik, Masopust; Olayinka.

Subs Kovar, Frydrych, Kudela, Zmrhal, Husbauer, Van Buren, Skoda.

The referee is Felix Zwayer from Germany. 

Stats recap

Chelsea have won more games (nine) and have a better goal difference (+21) than any other side in the Europa League this season.

Olivier Giroud’s hat-trick against Dynamo Kiev, on his 50th career European appearance, took his tally to nine this season.

Europa League top scorers
Olivier Giroud (Chelsea) 9
Wissam Ben Yedder (Sevilla) 8
Munas Dabbur (Salzburg) 8
Luka Jovic (Frankfurt) 7

Chelsea are unbeaten in six matches against Czech clubs and have yet to concede on our three previous away trips there.

The Blues are 13 games unbeaten in the Europa League. Our 2-2 draw at Vidi on matchday six ended a run of eight successive wins. Our last defeat in the competition was 2-3 at Rubin Kazan in the 2013 quarter-final second leg after we won 3-1 at the Bridge.

This is Chelsea’s 10th European quarter final since 2003/04. The Blues have progressed from nine of those ties, only being eliminated by Manchester United in the Champions League in 2010/11.

Chelsea have won more games (nine) and have a better goal difference (+21) than any other side in the Europa League this season.

Slavia Prague are unbeaten in any competition for 10 games. Since they last suffered defeat against Viktoria Plzen on 17 February they have won seven and drawn two. Their last six games have yielded 21 goals.

The Czech side have won one of their previous nine games against English sides in Europe (two draws, six defeats) – this coming against Leeds United in March 2000 in the UEFA Cup (2-1).

Slavia Prague’s 2-1 victory at home to Leeds United in March 2000 was their most recent game in a European quarter final; they were eliminated having lost the first leg 0-3 at Elland Road. Their only progression from a European quarter final was in the 1995/96 UEFA Cup against Roma (3-3 on away goals).

Slavia Prague are looking to reach the semi-finals of the Europa League and in doing so become the first Czech side to get to a major European semi-final since they did it themselves in the 1995/96 UEFA Cup. That season, they were eliminated at the hands of French side Bordeaux in the semi-finals.

Slavia’s tally of four goals in the group stage was the fewest by any of the 32 qualified teams, including the eight who finished third in their Champions League group. They have scored 10 in their last three knockout fixtures.

Slavia have conceded more fouls than any other team in the Europa League this term (189). Only Dinamo Zagreb (29) have received more yellow cards than the Czech side (28).


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