Olivier Giroud, Callum Hudson-Odoi shine as Chelsea thrash Dynamo Kiev
LONDON -- Goals from Pedro, Willian and Callum Hudson-Odoi secured Chelsea a dominant 3-0 win over Dynamo Kiev at Stamford Bridge that ensures Maurizio Sarri's men will head to Ukraine next week with one foot already in the last eight. Of the Europa League.
Chelsea will head to Kiev next week well in control of this tie, and there was little at Stamford Bridge to suggest another huge European shock could be on the cards. Sarri also got to rest Eden Hazard and several other regulars who will be needed against Wolves at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Sarri's starting XI caused some consternation, and the impact of both Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Hudson-Odoi off the bench lends weight to the idea that starting them in this match would not have been a risk for Sarri. He might argue that introducing them with the game stretched was a smart move.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- Sarri didn't win many admirers with his starting XI and the first half was turgid at times. That said, those he picked got the job done and his substitutes combined to tighten Chelsea's stranglehold on this tie. Recent momentum was maintained and he should have fresh legs for Wolves at the weekend.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Kepa Arrizabalaga, 6 -- This was a far cry from his busy return at Craven Cottage on Sunday. He was a glorified spectator as Dynamo Kiev failed to muster a single meaningful moment of danger until late, when his command of his penalty area left a little to be desired. His distribution was also solid.
DF Davide Zappacosta, 7 -- His surges down the right wing yielded some of Chelsea's best early chances -- not least one gilt-edged opportunity for Pedro -- but he became less of a factor as the game wore on. He still does not convince defensively, but his crossfield pass for Loftus-Cheek brought about his team's third goal.
DF Andreas Christensen, 7 -- His relative lack of recovery speed was exposed on a couple of occasions by loose passes from teammates. In general he dealt with danger calmly -- despite playing in a less familiar position on the right of the centre-back pairing -- and distributed the ball sensibly.
DF David Luiz, 7 -- Captain for the night with Cesar Azpilicueta resting, he confidently marshalled Chelsea's defence as well as being the team's most creative passer, with one particularly sensational swish of his right boot sending Pedro clean through. Also bullied the diminutive Nazariy Rusyn until the striker was substituted.
DF Marcos Alonso, 6 -- Dynamo Kiev's lack of attacking quality gave him more opportunities to go forward, and he was unlucky to see one fierce goal-bound shot deflected just wide by Mykyta Burda. Without the ball there were some concerning moments though, mainly in the form of needless fouls in bad areas.
MF Mateo Kovacic, 6 -- Always brings a tidiness to Chelsea's midfield play when he is on the ball and started brightly, attacking the penalty area and slipping in Ross Barkley after a slick one-two with Olivier Giroud. Shifted to the base of midfield when Jorginho went off, where his positional mistakes created a little anxiety
MF Jorginho, 6 -- Has played a lot of minutes recently, so perhaps his lethargy of decision-making should have been expected. His short and long passing was a little sloppier than usual at times, though he did play a key role in pinning the visitors back for long spells. Replaced by N'Golo Kante just after the hour mark.
MF Ross Barkley, 6 -- Saw one early shot saved by the feet of Denys Boyko but he wasn't generally as incisive in the final third as Sarri needs him to be. Did not do much to help Chelsea's midfield creation either, and Loftus-Cheek was immediately more impactful when he came on for him.
FW Pedro, 7 -- Waged an individual war against Dynamo Kiev goalkeeper Boyko for most of the evening. Could have scored five or six more times after breaking the deadlock after some slick interplay with Giroud, only to be undone by a combination of good goalkeeping and poor finishing.
FW Olivier Giroud, 8 -- This competition seems to bring the best out of him -- or is it just that the Europa League is where he gets his opportunities? -- and he enjoyed another impressive night here. His flick to create Pedro's opener was superb and he did the little things without carrying much of a goal threat himself.
FW Willian, 7 -- His poor set-piece deliveries were a running theme of the first half, but he lit up the second with a brilliant free kick which gave his team breathing space at 2-0. Aside from that moment this wasn't his best night's work, with loose touches and bad decisions in the final third outweighing his good ones.
MF Ruben Loftus-Cheek, 7 -- Used his strength to win the free kick that Willian converted and almost scored a third for Chelsea with a surging run. Also showed great awareness to set up Hudson-Odoi for 3-0.
MF N'Golo Kante, 6 -- His introduction gave Jorginho a much-needed rest and his speed across the ground helped tighten Chelsea's grip on midfield.
MF Callum Hudson-Odoi, 7 -- Given only 12 minutes off the bench, he still managed to score the third goal that gives Chelsea real command of this tie.