Even though Chelsea still have a game in hand on the teams above and seem to be in control of their own destiny, winning the Europa League looks like the club’s best bet to get back in the Champions League next season. If the first leg performance is anything to go by, sailing past Dynamo won’t be a challenge for the Blues, who restricted their first leg visitor to only 4 shots, NONE of them being on target.
Although his team has one foot in the quarter-finals already, Maurizio Sarri will surely be wary of the damage that Malmo can potentially cause as shown by Wolves, who held Chelsea to a deadlock and hit them on the counter-attack.
There will be no scope for complacency, especially with Chelsea’s shaky rear guard and Malmo’s recent run of results (most recent of which was a 4-0 hammering of Arsenal Kyiv), whose only defeat in the last 5 fixtures is the first leg thumping they received last week. Dynamo Kiev’s aggregate score without that defeat (in those 5 matches): 14-3!
The Ukrainians will be further boosted by the return of Benjamin Verbic, who was suspended for the first leg and the Slovenian will regain his role. However, this time Kiev will be without Vitaliy Buyalskyi who got himself suspended by picking up a booking in the first leg.
As far as Chelsea are concerned, Hudson Odoi is expected to be given a place in the starting line-up both due to his excellent Europa League record and the team’s comfortable starting position. The goal-keeping role will also see rotation, Caballero coming in for Kepa Arrizabalaga. The game might also see Loftus Cheek making a rare start. Higuain missed training due to an illness and is unavailable for the match; the other major absentee being the long-injured Marco van Ginkel.
Dynamo Kiev (4-2-3-1):
Boyko; Kedziora-Burda-Shabanov-Mykolenko; Sydorchuk-Shepelyev; Verbic-Shaparenko-Tsyhankov; Rusyn
Caballero; Zappacosta-Christensen-Rudiger-Alonso; Loftus Cheek-Kovacic-Barkley; Hudson Odoi-Giroud-Willian
PREDICTED SCORE: Dynamo Kiev 0-2 Chelsea
Chelsea looked by far the superior side in the first leg and will look to add further gloss to an already impressive score-line.