Chelsea go into the second leg of their Europa League Quarter Final against Slavia Prague in a commanding position. Marcus Alonso’s strike against the Czechs last week has given Maurizio Sarri’s side a 1-0 advantage in the tie as they return to Stamford Bridge to finish the job.
Chelsea have scored 14 goals in five Europa League home matches this season and will be confident of adding to that tally against a Slavia Prague side that have kept just one clean sheet in their five away matches in the competition this campaign.
Contrast that with Chelsea’s record of four clean sheets from their five home matches to date and this looks like a one sided contest.
The Blues have lost just twice in all competitions at the Bridge this season, against Manchester United in the FA Cup and Leicester City in the league while their Czech opponents have been beaten away from home by Zenit and Bordeaux already on their Europa League journey.
One man who will be licking his lips ahead of this second leg is Olivier Giroud. The Frenchman has been used sparingly in the Premier League and was again an un-used substitute against Liverpool at the weekend. But in Europe, he has become Sarri’s go to guy and the former Arsenal striker has bagged nine goals so far, making him the competition’s leading scorer. He’s also laid on two assists and has been directly involved in more goals than any other player. He’s 37/10 to open the scoring on Thursday night.
If you’re looking for value in the goalscoring department, last week’s match winner Marcus Alonso could be worth a dabble. If he starts, the Spaniard will likely have plenty of opportunities to get forward and having also found the net against Dynamo Kiev in the round of sixteen, he’s more than capable of scoring again at 7/2.
Last week’s defeat to Chelsea ended a ten match unbeaten run for Slavia Prague and they followed that up with a 1-1 draw against city rivals Sparta.
Avoiding defeat on the night would secure Chelsea a Semi Final place against the winner of Eintracht Frankfurt and Benfica, with the Portuguese side in control after a 4-2 win in the first leg. The Blues will be well backed to see off either side and are currently 6/4 favourites to win the competition and guarantee themselves a place in next season’s Champions League.
Chelsea vs. Slavia Prague Team News
Chelsea star men Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante were both on the bench for the first leg in the Czech capital last week and after returning to the starting lineup at Anfield on Sunday, will likely drop out again for this one.
An injury to Antonio Rudiger against Liverpool may force Sarri into a defensive change with Andreas Christensen likely to come in. Olivier Giroud will start in attack, with Pedro and Callum Hudson-Odoi in support.
Slavia Prague’s Czech Republic international Tomas Soucek is fit to return for the second leg and he will likely be their only change from the first match. Petr Sevcik could be the man to drop out as he’s started just two of Slavia’s five knockout fixtures so far.
Chelsea possible XI: Arrizabalaga, Azpilicueta, Luiz, Christensen, Alonso, Jorginho, Barkley, Loftus-Cheek, Pedro, Hudson-Odoi, Giroud
Slavia Prague possible XI: Kolar, Coufal, Ngadeu-Ngadjui, Deli, Boril; Traore, Soucek, Kral; Stoch; Masopust, OlayinkaChelsea vs. Slavia Prague form (most recent result last)
Slavia Prague: WDWWLD
Chelsea vs Slavia Prague recommended bets
Chelsea to win to nil @ 49/50
Chelsea HT/FT @ 91/100