Dynamo Kiev vs Chelsea Preview: Quarter-final spot in Blues' hands
(Getty Images - Glyn Kirk)

Dynamo Kiev vs Chelsea Preview: Quarter-final spot in Blues' hands

Chelsea look set to advance in the Europa League as the only English team with Arsenal having suffered a 3-1 defeat to Rennes in the first leg.

dominicscottbone
Dominic Scott-Bone

Dynamo Kiev welcome Chelsea to the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium on Thursday evening as the two sides battle it out for a quarter- final spot in the Europa League.

The Ukrainian outfit have it all to do if they are to progress, with a three-goal deficit in their way.

Last time out

The Blues were comfortable 3-0 victors in the reverse fixture last week.

After wriggling his way into the penalty area and neatly interchanging with Olivier Giroud, Pedro opened the scoring from close range in the 17th minute.

In the second half, Willian doubled Chelsea’s lead with a pinpoint free-kick that fizzed past Denys Boyko in the Dynamo goal.

Teenage sensation Callum Hudson-Odoi topped off a dominant display from the West London club when he added a late third to put a place in the quarter-final firmly in his team’s hands.

In fact, the visitors on the day, who had never won in their last 15 visits to England, failed to produce a shot on target.

Team News

Gonzalo Higuain has not travelled with the Chelsea squad.

The Blues’ January signing has suffered from a fever since their Premier League clash with Wolves on the weekend, and has been left to recover for Everton on Sunday afternoon.

With Chelsea having one foot into the next round, Eden Hazard could watch from the substitutes bench for this one as Maurizio Sarri eyes  a top four position in the league.

Vitaliy Buyalskyi is suspended for Dynamo and forward Benjamin Verbic will not be available since tweeting on Wednesday morning that he was suffering from an illness.

Sarri: ‘It will be really difficult’

Blues boss Sarri has branded the NSC Olimpiyskiy’s pitch as a 'disaster'.

"I think it's [the pitch] really dangerous,” Sarri told BBC Sport.

"It will be very difficult to play good football here, [but] we have to accept the situation.

"I don't know the reason, probably winter, because I played here two years ago and the pitch was wonderful."

Even with a three-goal cushion, Sarri is wary of Dynamo and furthered his explanation.

“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.

"We need to go on the pitch with the target to win the match, not to qualify, otherwise we will be in trouble."

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