It seemed like Chelsea were playing against a team in the bottom half of the Championship. Only this time we were not in a League or FA Cup match, but instead playing a Europa League Round of 16 first leg against Ukraine’s second best team, Dynamo Kiev.
It was such an easy game that Chelsea did not even need to unleash Eden Hazard this time. In fact this was only the second time this season where Hazard did not take part in a game despite being available, the first being our previous Europa League game against Malmö at the Bridge in the competition’s round of 32.
Chelsea however were not very calibrated in front of the goal. It seemed as if the team were set on giving goalkeeper Denys Boyko a career day, with only three of their eight shots on target making it past the Dynamo player — and most times because of our own failure at shooting anywhere but right where he stood. And even though complaining about a 3-0 lead in a two-leg playoff round might seem like a first-world problem, it is what Maurizio Sarri did. With good reason.
“Yes of course, especially in the first half we could have won by more. It is a good result, we were lucky not to concede a goal.”
“We have to play the second leg and go with a level of attention. We want to qualify.”
It was still a superb showing from Chelsea, who did what was expected of them by completely brushing the visitors aside, unlike our North London rivals Arsenal earlier today in their trip to France where they were beaten 3-1 by Rennes. Wide forward Pedro, who was slotted in the right flank but often drifted to the left to make Hazardian runs, had a Man of the Match performance.
He was praised by Sarri after the match. With a caveat of making Boyko’s day much easier than it should have been.
“Yes he played very well. He missed a few goals but played a very good match.”
Nevertheless, the 3-0 lead does advantage mean we should drop our guard. We still need to keep our attention up and apply ourselves to the maximum to make it through the next round.
“We need application, if you concede a goal you can go mentally in trouble. You can go with a right level of attention.”
-Maurizio Sarri; Source: football.london
First task is done. Next week, we get the double-check.