A precious away goal in Frankfurt last week opens the door to a possible Semi-Final victory, and a Europa League Final place in Baku, Azerbaijan, on May 29th. The winners of our tie will play Valencia or Arsenal in the final; with Arsenal 3-1 up from their first leg, the likelihood of an all London affair in Azerbaijan is quite high. and From a Chelsea point of view, revenge for the 2017 FA Cup Final and stopping Arsenal from reaching the Champions League would be high on any Chelsea fan’s agenda.
After our 3-0 win against Watford on Sunday and Brighton doing a fantastic job drawing 1-1 against Arsenal, our place in the Champions League next season is now assured. Eintracht Frankfurt’s weekend was more like a deflated bratwurst, as they lost 6-1 away to Bayer Leverkusen – the only goal for Frankfurt came from Kostić; incredibly all of the seven goals came in the first half, with the last in the 36th minute.
Due to a hamstring injury N’Golo Kanté will be ruled out for the second leg with Maurizio Sarri stating that if we get to the final, then Kanté may have an opportunity to recover in time. With our Champions League fate assured, Sarri should put out his strongest eleven, which should include Eden Hazard. Ruben Loftus-Cheek played well when he replaced Kanté at the weekend, so he should start. Olivier Giroud should replace Higuain, this is if Sarri continues his Europa League striker rotation policy. Eintracht could start Ante Rebic, who was suspended for the first leg and Luka Jovic should return after being rested against Leverkusen.
Maurizio Sarri was being cautious during his press conference stating that Eintracht are a “dangerous team” he also said this about Dynamo Kiev before we beat them 0-5 in Kiev. The danger will come if we are slack and don’t take the tie seriously; any side can be dangerous, especially if they have pace and can counter attack quickly. According to Sarri he’s met his target for the season by helping the club qualify for the Champions League and improving the players; he also believes that Chelsea deserve a trophy. Certainly by winning the Europa League, it would be a good way to finish the season and might go a small way in bringing the fans a little closer to Sarri, himself.
My Prediction: The only way the tie can go to extra time is if it’s 1-1 at the end of the 90 minutes; however, any other score draw would send Eintracht through. Possession, control, creation and above all, goals will see us through. Pedro has been on great form recently and I see him giving us the advantage early on. I’d take a 2-0 win and an all English Europa League Final – to go with an all English Champions League Final (sadly!)