Chelsea will look to continue their run of good form with another performance in the Europa League against Dynamo Kiev.
After disappointment and controversy in the Carabao Cup final, Chelsea have bounced back under Maurizio Sarri.
They followed the win over Tottenham with a victory over Fulham to move them to within just two points of fourth-placed Manchester United.
While a top-four place remains the ambition, Sarri’s side are also focused on the Europa League as the Italian eyes his first piece of silverware as a manager.
They host Dynamo Kiev at Stamford Bridge on Thursday looking to secure their place in the last eight with a dominant home performance in the first leg.
Both sides head into this game in good shape, with a surprising lack of injuries for both at this stage of the season.
Chelsea’s treatment room is currently empty with their only concern that Ross Barkley is one yellow card away from a suspension in this competition.
Kiev, meanwhile, are also injury free for this game. They, though, will be without Serbian winger Benjamin Verbic, who is serving a suspension for their trip to London.
What the managers said
Despite a lack of injuries, Maurizio Sarri still has concerns about the fitness of his squad, who are playing their seventh game in 18 days.
The last week was very hard for us. We need to rest some players,” he said.
“We have played six, seven, eight matches more than other European teams which means two months without training. For an English team, it’s very difficult to be competitive in Europe in March, April.
“Ajax didn’t play the last match in the Dutch championship. If an Italian team plays a Europa League game away from home, you can ask to play on Monday. We play 62, 63 hours after Dynamo. It’s too early.”
Dynamo Kiev manager Olexandr Khatskhevich, meanwhile, was keen to play down any suggestions that his side were underdogs in this game.
“Favourites only exist on paper. Before the game, the odds are only ever 50-50,” he said.
“For now, all I am prepared to say about Chelsea is that they wear blue. It’s a bit early to talk about their form.”
This is the third time Chelsea will face Dynamo Kiev, and their history is a mixed one. They’ve won one, drawn one and lost one of the previous three meetings.
Chelsea head into this game in good form in the competition. They’ve won 10 of their last 11 Europa League fixtures.
They’re also in good goalscoring form, they’ve scored at least two in their last four matches, and each of those games has seen at least over 2.5 goals.
Kiev cannot claim the same, they’ve have not won any of their last nine first-leg knockout games. They’re on a winless run, in that regard, that stretches way back to 2011.
They don’t have a good history in England either. In fact, they’ve never won a European match in England, losing 11 of their previous 14 visits.