Chelsea hosted Slavia Prague in the 2nd leg of the Quarter finals in the Europa League. This was a must win for both teams in order to book a place in the semi finals of the competition. Chelsea came into this leg with 1-0 lead after scoring in the final minutes of the game through Marcos Alonso. In order to get Champions League football next season Chelsea’s best route is through the Europa League.
Sarri quite surprisingly chose a very strong line up today. Chelsea’s star man Eden Hazard started the game. The likes of Ruben Loftus Cheek and Hudson Odoi were rested for this game but Chelsea fans seemed quite happy with the lineup. Early in the first half, Chelsea had taken the lead through Pedro who scored a brilliant goal and put them in front. The build play for Pedro’s goal was sublime. Chelsea then quickly doubled their lead after Simon Deli put the ball inside the back of his own net. A few minutes later
Olivier Giroud scored a simple tap in after Pedro put the ball on a plate for him and Chelsea were 3-0 up in the first 20 minutes of the game. Slavia Prague’s captain Tomas Soucek scored a brilliant header to bring them back in the game. Right at the other end Chelsea scored another goal through Pedro and by half time Chelsea went in with a 4-1 lead. (5-1) on Aggregate. It was a very impressive first half from Chelsea and it was one of their best performances of the season in that first.
It seemed like Chelsea had wrapped the tie up in the first half but in the second half the Chelsea players came out clueless. What did Maurizio Sarri say to them at HT, the players came out with no motivation. It was fair to say that it was a game of two halves. A few minutes into the second half Petr Sevcik scored from outside the box and brought some hope back for his team. Kepa should have done better for that second goal. Minutes later Petr Sevcik scored another goal from outside the box and it was beauty. Kepa could not do anything about it. Suddenly the game was back on. It was 5-3 on aggregate with 34 minutes to play. Petr Sevcik almost scored a hattrick but he completely misjudged the ball and Chelsea were off the hook. Sarri subbed on Jorginho who was booed by the Chelsea fans as soon as he came on. Jorginho did well as he came on and kept possession of the ball in order to slow the game down. He did that very well. Chelsea’s midfield looked very solid as soon as Jorginho came on. The final whistle blew and the look on Chelsea players faces summed it up that they were very lucky to go through. Credit has to be given to Slavia Prague who really gave it their all in the second half and made it a very interesting game for the neutrals.
Chelsea managed to qualify for the semi finals of Europa League and will play Frankfurt who managed to turn the game around and beat Benfica 2-0 at home. The first leg will be played on the 2nd of May in Germany and 2nd leg will be played on the 9th of May at Stamford Bridge.
- Chelsea are the first English side to win 11 major European games in a single season.
- Slavia Prague are winless in their last nine European meetings with English clubs (W0 D2 L7) since winning 2-1 at home to Leeds in March 2000 in the UEFA Cup.
- Slavia Prague are one of just four sides to score 3+ goals against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in European competition and the first to do so in the Europa League.
- Chelsea have benefited from five own-goals in all competitions this season, of Premier League clubs, only Manchester City (7) and Arsenal (6) have benefited from more.
- Chelsea are the second Premier League side to reach 100 goals in all competitions this season after Manchester City.
- Pedro has been directly involved in three goals in a European match for the first time in his career (2 goals, 1 assist).
- Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud has been directly involved in 13 goals in his last nine Europa League appearances, scoring 10 and assisting three.
- Olivier Giroud is the first Chelsea player to score 10 goals in a single season in European football.
Here is what Maurizio Sarri had to say about the game:
“As usual in the last two months, we started badly in the second half. We need a solution to solve this problem. In the last 10 matches, we started like in this match. It’s a big problem but we have to consider the match and the qualification. At the end of the first half, we thought we were qualified but against this opponent. This wasn’t true because they are physical. I’ve never seen something like that in the last 20 years.It’s true, the second half could have been difficult for us and we did something wrong. But of course, we are happy because to get into a European semi-final, it’s not easy so we are happy.”
Callum Hudson Odoi: N/A
What’s next for Chelsea ?
It is fair to say that Chelsea got off the hook against Slavia Prague and booked their place into the Semi finals of the Europa League. They will play Frankfurt, and they are a side who are very dangerous and will definitely give Chelsea a fight if they manage to play like that in the second half. Luka Jovic who has been impressive this season for Frankfurt will be a major threat for Chelsea. Chelsea were very impressive in the first half today, but the second half was very poor by their standards. Defensively they were dreadful in the second half. It seems like a reoccurring thing for Chelsea this season, they manage to play very good in the first half, but in the second half they come out clueless. Which makes me think what does the manager say to them at half time ? Because he clearly does not motivate them. Moving forward Chelsea play Burnley on Monday night in the Premier League and it is a must win for them. The Premier League is all about pride right now for Chelsea and see how many points they can get by the end of the season, but their sole focus should be on the Europa league in order to get Champions league football next season.