11th of April 2019 Author: Johnny Karp
Czech side Slavia Prague are looking to continue their fairy tale run in this season's UEFA Europa League when they face Premier League outfit Chelsea at Sinobo Stadium on Thursday in the first leg of their quarter-finals tie. This will be the first ever meeting between these two sides in an European competition. Slavia have faced English teams on nine occasions in their European adventures and they only managed to win one match, 2-1 at home against Leeds United in 2000. Chelsea have played six times against Czech sides and they have won three matches while the other three were draws.
Slavia Prague can equal their best ever European run this season, the last time (and only time) they reached the semi-finals of an European competition was in the UEFA Cup in 1996. This is the third time they reach the quarter-finals, the last time was in 2000 when they got knocked out by Leeds United. In the previous round Slavia pulled off a spectacular fightback against LaLiga side Sevilla, they secured a 2-2 draw in the first leg in Spain and then the second leg also ended 2-2 after 90 minutes. Sevilla scored first in extra-time but then Slavia fired another two goals and advanced to the quarter-finals. Last week they won 5-1 at Dukla Prague in the Czech league, keeping their advantage at the top of the table at seven points. Tomas Soucek is suspended for this match.
Chelsea are involved in a fierce battle for the top four in the Premier League along with Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United, and the Europa League might be an easier way for them to get to next season's Champions League. In the previous round the Blues had an easier than expected task against Ukrainian side Dynamo Kyiv, they won 3-0 at home and 5-0 away. Last week Chelsea secured a 2-0 Premier League victory over West Ham and moved up to third place in the table. Marcos Alonso and Ethan Ampadu are the only injury concerns for manager Maurizio Sarri, who will probably try to rest some players for Sunday's Premier League match against Liverpool.
Slavia: Kolar - Kudela, Ngadeu, Deli - Kufar, Traore, Husbauer, Kral, Boril - Stoch - Skoda
Chelsea: Arrizabalaga - Zappacosta, Rudiger, Christensen, Alonso - Kante, Kovacic, Barkley - Pedro, Giroud, Willian
My prediction: Chelsea to win 2-1, it will be a tough match for the London side but they should make their superior quality and experience count.
Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:
Slavia win - 5.75
Draw - 3.80
Chelsea win - 1.70
3rd of October 2018
17th of April 2019
I've seen that game...left with a good impressions from the home side who playing really vigorous and attacking style which could be easy on the eye for the most part.
Chelsea have shown they are the more experienced side though waiting for their chances on counter attacks and near the end when the fatigue has been a factor they made their break.
Probably it seems to be a protocol of a re-match but I really think Slavia could create some more trouble for their famous opponents even at the English soil.
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