Chelsea host Slavia Praha in their Europa League quarterfinal second leg on Thursday night at Stamford Bridge. The Blues have a narrow 1-0 lead going into the second leg thanks to a late Marcos Alonso goal in Prague.
Slavia Praha were not put off by Chelsea's reputation and held their own against the Blues for nearly 90 minutes. It took Chelsea 86 minutes to finally break down Slavia Praha thanks to Willian's clever pass to Alonso. Now, with the tie shifting to Stamford Bridge, can Maurizio Sarri's team achieve progression to the semifinals?
Sarri rotated his team heavily for the first leg. The manager made seven changes to the team that had previously defeated West Ham in the Premier League. Eden Hazard, who had played sparingly in the Europa League prior to the quarterfinal, came off the bench as Sarri sought victory. His presence helped breakdown the Czech team as Chelsea achieved a vital away goal.
Chelsea were defeated 2-0 on Sunday at Liverpool and now sit outside the top four thanks to goal difference. The club's fight for the Europa League trophy could ultimately affect their league campaign.
Chelsea go into the match as the favourite for the victory at odds of 20/57. Slavia Praha go into the fixture at odds of 10/1.
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Slavia Praha followed up their defeat to Chelsea with a 1-1 draw against city rivals Sparta Prague on Sunday. Despite the draw, Slavia Praha will feel confident they can go to Stamford Bridge and get a result. The Czech club merely need an away goal to turn the tie on its head.
Chelsea centre-back Antonio Rudiger is set to miss the second leg. Gary Cahill, who has been on the fringes of Sarri's team all season, is expected to step in for the German defender. Ethan Ampadu is still out due to a back injury.
Oliver Giroud to score anytime @ 5/4 - BET NOW
Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud has tallied nine goals in 10 Europa League appearances. The striker has a nose for goal in the competition and could be the difference for the Blues.
Chelsea to win to nil @ 11/10 - BET NOW
Chelsea showed their strength in the first leg as they pitched another shut out. The Blues have conceded just one goal in the knockout stage, which shows their defensive strengths and the attacking weaknesses of their Europa League opponents.
Chelsea to win 3-0 @ 8/1 - BET NOW
Chelsea have been dominant at home in the Europa League. The Blues' only blemish in the competition has been a 1-1 away draw to MOL Vidi in the group stage. Chelsea have scored three or more goals five times in the competition so far.
During the last 32 home leg against Malmo and the last 16 home leg against Dynamo Kyiv, Chelsea won by 3-0 scorelines both times. Putting three goals past Slavia Praha isn't out of the question on Thursday night.
Stamford Bridge has buoyed the Blues in the competition, and they should respond following their weekend loss to Liverpool.
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