Vidi vs Chelsea 2-2 Match Report and Player Ratings article

Goals; Vidi- Ampadu O.G (32′), Nego (55′)

             Chelsea- Willian (30′), Giroud (75′)

Olivier Giroud’s wonder free kick goal was enough for Chelsea to maintain their unbeaten run in the Europa League, as they drew 2-2 away in Budapest against Vidi.

Chelsea weren’t too dominant at the start of the game, after both teams had chances to open the scoring with Vidi having chances through Nikolov and Nego to give Vidi a valuable 1-0 lead. Morata had the best early chance for Chelsea with a header from a corner which evaded Barkley and rolled into Kovacsik’s hands.

But, after a slow but positive start for both teams, Chelsea took the lead in the 30th minute when Willian’s driving run lead to a free-kick in a dangerous position. And from the resulting free-kick, Willian placed his shot on target which evaded Kovacsik in the Vidi goal to give the away side a 0-1 lead in Hungary.

However it didn’t take long for the hosts to respond, as from a corner in the 32nd minute, Juhasz flicked header was inadvertently turned into his own net by Ethan Ampadu to bring the hosts level at 1-1.

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Vidi looked the much better side as half-time approached and should have went 2-1 up when Nego’s shot after a lovely free-flowing Vidi move was well saved by Caballero.

Before half-time, Morata picked up a knee injury after an awkward landing  from his flicked chance at goal which rolled into the keepers arms, from a Callum-Hudson Odoi’s cross. Giroud replaced the Striker before half-time. Chelsea now only have 1 fit striker going into the busy Christmas period, highlighting the fact that they will need to strengthen in that area in the upcoming January transfer window…

Surprisingly the hosts started the second half better and had an early chance through Stopira which he headed over from a corner. Chelsea then went straight down the other end and Willian had 2 attempts well blocked by Vidi defenders. That End-to-End tempo carried on until the end of the game.

The hosts took a surprise lead in the 55th minute, when Milanov’s cross was met by Nego, who volleyed superbly past the helpless Caballero to give the Hungarian side a 2-1 advanatge in the final game in Group L.

After that goal, it was all Chelsea as they looked to push on an equaliser to stop their unbeaten record in the Europa League ending tonight in Hungary.

Giroud had 2 chances to get that equaliser for Chelsea, but his mistimed attempt and  bullet volley both missed the target. Pedro then had a scuffed effort in the 71st minute which rolled just wide of the Vidi goal. It looked like it wouldn’t be Chelsea’s day and that Vidi would record a famous win over the London club in Hungary.

Although in the 75th minute, Giroud’s attempt from a free kick curled and looped over the Vidi defender on his own goal line and in to the top corner to salvage Chelsea a point in Budapest.

Both teams then looked to win the game in the last few minutes, but neither team could find a winner and therefore the game ended in a 2-2 draw which would probably had satisfied both teams, as Vidi got a precious point against a big club, and Chelsea maintained their unbeaten record in Group L. However their 100% winning record in Group L ended tonight in Hungary.

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Mixed Fortunes for Chelsea youngsters tonight

Callum Hudson Odoi delivered a very promising performance tonight for the Blues in attack. However, at the opposite end of the pitch, Ampadu didn’t have a great performance tonight after he scored an own goal to level the game up for Vidi.

Chelsea now short on Striking Options

Chelsea only have two established strikers at the club – excluding those out on loan – and they could be down to one depending on the severity of Morata’s injury

Eden Hazard – who was rested for this game – started up front in Sunday’s 2-0 win over Manchester City and might be needed to reprise that same role again.

Chelsea Fringe Players fail to impress

Players like Emerson Palmieri, Ross Barkley, Davide Zappacosta, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Fabregas did little to stake a place in the first-choice line-up. Will Sarri use any of these players for the weekend? The only players that could be used by Sarri on the weekend are the likes of Loftus-Cheek and Barkley, but Sarri is more than likely to play a midfield 3 of Jorginho, Kante and Kovacic away at the Amex Stadium on the weekend.

Match Statistics

                                 Vidi                         Chelsea

Possession (%)       24                                76

Shots                          6                                  18

Shots on target          3                                   5

Corners                        3                                   11

Fouls                             15                                  14

 

Manager Comments (Source- Chelsea’s Official Twitter)

Chelsea Manager- Maurizio Sarri;

 Maurizio Sarri said at his post-match press conference that he was very happy with his players’ character having gone behind, adding there were however plenty of mistakes from a tactical point of view.

Sarri said that  he doesn’t think the injury Alvaro Morata picked up is too serious, but we will find out more tomorrow. The Italian admitted that  he was very pleased with the performances of Ethan Ampadu and Callum Hudson-Odoi tonight, pointing out the number of changes we made to the team as a whole made it harder for them.

Player/Manager Ratings

Vidi FC (4-3-2-1)

Kovacsik- 5 (Didn’t make any noticeable saves in the game)

Fiola- 8 (Excellent defending against the likes of Willian and Hudson-Odoi)

Juhász- 7 (Solid defending and got the assists for Ampadu’s own goal with his flicked header)

Vinicius- 6 (For the most parts was solid)

Stopira- 7 (Made good runs going forward)

Nego- 9 (MOTM) (Excellent goal and excellent performance)

Hadzic- 5 (Average)

Nikolov- 6 (Solid)

Milanov- 7 (Got the assist for Nego’s wonder goal)

Huszti- 6 (Contributed to Vidi’s positive attacking performance)

Scepovic- 6 (d=Delivered the cross which eventually lead to Ampadu’s own goal)

Subs;

Kovács- 5 (Didn’t impact the game)

Hodzic- 5 (Didn’t impact the game)

Patkci- 5 (Didn’t impact the game)

 

Manager Rating: Marko Nikolic- 7- picked his best side which ended up getting a famous 2-2 draw against Chelsea.

Chelsea (4-3-3)

Caballero- 7 (Made a superb save by Nego in the first half)

Emerson- 6 (Good in the attacking sense. But a little suspect defensively)

Ampadu- 5 (Scored an own goal, but other than that, he was average)

Christensen- 5 (Average)

Zappacosta- 6 (Good in the attacking sense like Emerson but was suspect defensively)

Barkley- 6 (Won the free kick which Giroud scored from)

Fabregas- 5 (Slow in the midfield)

Loftus-Cheek- 7 (best out of the midfield 3)

Hudson-Odoi- 7 (Promising glimpses from the youngster)

Morata- 3 (Unfortunate to pick up an injury. But before the injury had such a negative body language and lazy attitude)

Willian- 8 (Excellent free-kick and looked Chelsea’s most dangerous player today)

Subs;

Giroud- 8 (Scored a wonder free kick but could have had a hatrick)

Pedro- 7 (Wasn’t as good as Willian)

Manager Rating: Maurizio Sarri- 6- Picked a good enough team to win the game. Also gave chances to a few Chelsea youngsters which was a positive.

Position in Europa League table

Chelsea finished this years group stages of the Europa League at the top of Group L, with a points total of 16 points with a goal difference of +9. Vidi failed to qualify for the knockout rounds as BATE claimed second spot after their impressive 1-3 win away in Greece against PAOK today. Vidi had to better the BATE result which was highly unlikely before the kick off due to the fact that they were playing Chelsea. Vidi therefore finished in 3rd place with a reasonable points total of 7 points. They had a goal difference of -2.

Next games for both teams

Both teams are next in League action at the weekend, with Chelsea taking on Brighton away in the Premier League on Sunday at 1:30pm (UK time). Vidi host Ferencvaros in the Hungarian League this Sunday at 7:15 (UK time). Vidi wont be in Europa League action now as they were knocked out. Chelsea on the other hand, will have to wait to see who they will face in the Round of 32. But potential teams that the Blues could face are the likes of Shaktar, Galatasaray, Brugges or Victoria Plzen.

By Danyal Khan

Check out the ABDHFootball podcast this Friday where we will discuss all the Champions League and Europa League action.

Vidi vs Chelsea Match Preview: 12th December

Chelsea will be travelling to Hungary already qualified from  Group L, to face a Vidi side who will be fighting for the second spot alongside BATE Borisov.

Chelsea will be looking to maintain their impressive 100% record with a win in Hungary, as Maurizio Sarri  is expected to field a side, which is mixed with Chelsea fringe players and Chelsea youth players, as he will have an eye on Sunday’s Premier League clash away to Brighton.

Vidi host the Premier League side at the Groupama Arena in third position, but a draw or win may be enough to earn their place in the knockout stages of the competition.

They will need a favour from PAOK though, who face BATE Borisov who are the other team in Group L who will be competing for the second spot with Vidi.

Recent form in the Europa League for both teams

Vidi FC- L/L/W/W/L

Chelsea- W/W/W/W/W

Manager and Player Comments

Chelsea Manager- Maurizio Sarri (Source/Credit- Chelsea FC Official Twitter)

Asked about the incident on Saturday involving Raheem Sterling, Sarri says: ‘First of all I want to say I condemn any form of discrimination, but I have to stop here because there is an investigation.

‘Sarri says Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ethan Ampadu could feature tomorrow. He adds Ampadu has a good chance of featuring due to Gary Cahill being injured.

He adds that both players are ‘technically very good.’

On tomorrow’s game, Sarri says: ‘The last match against them was very difficult, they defended very well. Maybe tomorrow will bbe very different because they are fighting for qualification so they need to win.’

Sarri says he decided Kepa, Rudiger, Azpilicueta, Kante and Hazard all needed a rest, while Kovacic, Cahill and Moses are injured.

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Chelsea Player- Ruben Loftus Cheek (Source/Credit- Chelsea FC Official Twitter)

Loftus-Cheek says progress has been made regarding racism in football, but it remains a problem today. He says he personally has never suffered racist abuse on the pitch.

He reiterates the club’s stance regarding the ongoing investigation: that the hardest response will be taken if racist abuse has occurred.

Loftus-Cheek is asked about Ethan Ampadu: ‘He is a great boy and a funny lad. He is mentally strong and has a great attitude.’

Loftus-Cheek says the recent period has been really good for his confidence. He is enjoying being on the pitch more and more and says he is raring to go at the moment.

Ruben expects a really tough game tomorrow. ‘As a team and Chelsea Football Club, it’s important we keep the mentality of wanting to win every game and improving in every game.’

Team News (Source/Credit-  Sportsmole.co.uk)

Vidi FC

Nikolic will consider making changes to his team after their defeat to Ujpest at the weekend, with Istvan Kovacs a potential inclusion in midfield.

Marko Scepovic should get the nod in attack despite failing to score a single goal in Europe this season.

Chelsea FC

Ampadu and Hudson-Odoi should make a rare appearance in the starting lineup on Thursday night, while Willy Caballero could replace Kepa Arrizabalaga between the sticks.

The back four is likely to remain the same as in previous European fixtures, with David Luiz being left in West London and with one of Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso only making the bench.

Jorginho and N’Golo Kante are also unlikely to play any part, with Cesc Fabregas expected to start and Ross Barkley being provided with more minutes after a recent injury.

Jamie Cumming and George McEachran are amongst the Chelsea youngsters who will be travelling to Budapest this evening to take on Vidi tomorrow. The other young players who will be travelling to Budapest alongside these 2 players are the likes of Bulka, Ampadu and Hudson-Odoi.

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Predicted Line-Ups 

Vidi possible starting lineup:
Kovacsik; Fiola, Juhasz, Vinicius, Stopira; Nego, Kovacs, Patkai; Huszti, Milanov; Scepovic

Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Caballero; Zappacosta, Christensen, Cahill, Emerson; Ampadu, Fabregas, Barkley; Moses, Morata, Hudson-Odoi

Head to Head/ Match Statistics (Credit/Source- Sportsmole.co.uk)

Thursday’s game will represent just the second competitive meeting between the two clubs, with their only other contest coming earlier in this competition.

Chelsea will also be making their first-ever trip to Hungary to take on a team from the Nemzeti Bajnoksag I.

Vidi are also not familiar with facing English teams, with their only previous tie coming in 1985 when they got the better of Manchester United in the UEFA Cup quarter-finals.

Betting Odds/My Prediction

Bet 365 have made Chelsea clear favourites from this game considering that it is an away game in Hungary, with a Chelsea win being priced at 8/11. A draw between these two sides which could be enough for Vidi if BATE lose is being priced at 14/5. A surprise win for Vidi which is more than likely to take Vidi through in second spot is being priced at 9/2.

My Prediction is a tight 1-2 win to Chelsea. I think Vidi will be up for this game due to the fact that they need a positive result from this game, however there quality will shine through in the end in my opinion, and it will be a good chance for Chelsea’s fringe and young players to make a statement to Sarri for them to be included in the Premier League first team.

By Danyal Khan

 

 

Chelsea vs PAOK 4-0 Match Report and Player Ratings article

Goals; Chelsea- Giroud (26′, 37′), Hudson Odoi (60′), Morata (78′)

PAOK- none

A first Chelsea goal for Callum Hudson-Odoi was 1 of 4 Chelsea goals in their comfortable 4-0 win over PAOK in the Europa League.

Unsurprisingly, the game started the way that everyone expected with Chelsea being on top and pushing PAOK from the minute go and this high intensity was shown in the 3rd minute when Ross Barkley’s shot was deflected wide of the PAOK goal. However, Chelsea’s quest to gain 3 points in this Group L encounter was made easier when in the 6th minute, a mistake from Khacheridi allowed Olivier Giroud in 1-on-1, but Giroud couldn’t take his shot because Khacheridi hacked Giroud to the ground and was shown a straight red card as he was the last man and he denied the Frenchman a clear goal scoring opportunity.

Chelsea from then to half-time increased the intensity on this 10 men PAOK side and had good chances through Loftus Cheek, Hudson-Odoi and Cahill to grab the first goal of the game, But none of those chances were taken. However, Chelsea weren’t going to wait much longer for the first goal of the game, as their pressure paid off in the 26th minute when Pedro produced some lovely trickery after a lovely floated ball was played over the top from Fabregas, and Pedro teed up Olivier Giroud who almost passed it into the bottom corner from the edge of the box. That goal was the Frenchman’s 3rd in his last 3 games for Chelsea in all competitions.

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Straight after the goal, Chelsea thought they had the second, but Hudson-Odoi’s effort from outside the box crashed against the woodwork. The Blues intense pressure to grab the second goal paid off in the 37th minute when Fabregas chipped a lovely ball over the top of the PAOK defence, and Giroud latched onto to the ball and volleyed it first time into the net beyond the goalkeeper at his near post. That was the Frenchman’s 4th goal in his last 3 games in all competitions. Does he now start over Morata at the weekend in the West-London Derby?

The West-Londoners only other chance in the first half came from Pedro, who got his feet muddled up in the box when the ball was played into the Spaniard in the box, his shot was mishit and deflected off his other foot and hacked away to safety by the PAOK defender.

PAOK’s only half-chance in the first half came on the counter-attack, but El Kaddouri’s shot was blazed over Kepa’s bar from outside the box.

So Chelsea went in 2-0 at halftime, and that was exactly the first half that Sarri would have wanted after his side’s embarrassing display in the London Derby last weekend against Tottenham at Wembley. For PAOK, they can be proud of the way they have defended since going down to 10 men, as they only conceded 2 goals in the first half against a Chelsea team who have a point to prove to their manager.

PAOK made a sub at half-time with Warda coming on for Prijovic, and the Egyptian made a difference from PAOK causing the Chelsea backline a few problems early on in the second half and adding a new dynamic to the 10 men PAOK attack.  However this short spell at the start of the second half was ended when Chelsea regain full control of the game, and in the 57th minute, Ruben Loftus-Cheek drifted into the PAOK area and his shot across the keeper was well saved by the PAOK keeper. Zappacosta also had a chance with a half-volley from a corner. Before Callum Hudson-Odoi bagged his first goal for Chelsea in the 60th minute, when his shot from inside the box beat the keeper at his near post like it did for Giroud’s second goal. The keeper could have done a lot better with that one.

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Midway through the second half, Giroud was subbed off for Morata, and the Spaniard made an instant impact when in the 77th minute, Hudson-Odoi’s cross from the right-hand side was guided home by Morata to give Chelsea a 4 goal lead over the Greek opposition.

Chelsea had chances before the game finished, but neither Willian, nor Hudson Odoi, nor Barkley could add to Chelsea’s tally before the referee ended the contest.

So that win for Chelsea maintains their 100% winning record in Group L, whereas for PAOK, that knocks them out of the Europa League, which could be a blessing in disguise for them, as they will be concentrating on winning the Greek League for the first time in the while. They currently sit top in that league with a 5 point lead, so being knocked out of this competition isn’t the end of the world. PAOK gave it a go and didn’t just park the bus when they went down to 10 men, but the quality of Chelsea showed through, and it ended up being a good and professional performance from the blues.

Player and Manager Ratings

Chelsea (4-3-3)

Kepa- 5 (Had nothing to do the whole game)

Zappacosta- 6 (Whipped in some good deliveries for Giroud)

Christensen- 6 (Solid performance, but wasn’t really tested by the PAOK defence.

Cahill- 7 (Made a vital tackle to halt Leo Jaba’s run into the Chelsea box in the second half)

Emerson- 8 (Brilliant in the attacking and defensive phases. Crossing was brilliant from the left-hand side)

Fabregas- 6 (Started the game well, but looked tired as the game grew on. Did get two lovely assists for Giroud’s second goal and Hudson Odoi’s goal)

Loftus-Cheek- 8 (Created multiple chances and nearly scored on multiple occasions. Really has staked a claim to gain more minutes in the Premier League team after that performance tonight)

Barkley- 5 (Average)

Pedro- 7 (Lovely assist for Giroud’s  second goal)

Callum Hudson-Odoi – 9 (MOTM- an Excellent goal and assist, and provided a new dynamic to this Chelsea team tonight. There were occasions where he needs to mix his game up more because he does cut inside a lot, but he will learn as he is a very young and exciting player)

Giroud- 8 (Brilliant 2 goals and has definitely staked his claim to be included in Sarri’s line up on Sunday against Fulham)

Subs;

Ampadu- 6 (Calm and composed when he came on)

Willian- 5 (Didn’t make much of an impact)

Morata- 7 (Got a goal off the bench and made an instant impact)

Manager rating- Maurizio Sarri- 8- picked a good solid team. Made 10 changes from Spurs game and mixed in some youth with experience really well.

PAOK (4-2-3-1)
Paschalakis- 6 (Even though he conceded 4, he made some vital saves to keep the score down)

Vieirinha- 7 (Caused a threat on the counter attack for PAOK)

Crespo- 4 (poor defensively)

Khacheridi- 1 (Sent off so early in the game. Killed any chances of a PAOK upset in the 6th minute!)

Matos- 5 (Average)

Mauricio- 5 (Average)

Wernbloom- 6 (Good defensively)

Omar El Kaddouri- 5 (Had one of PAOK’s only attempts in the match)

Shakhov- 5 (Average)

Leo Jaba- 6 (Made some good runs)

Prijovic- 4 (Starved of service)

Subs;

Warda- 7 (PAOK’s MOTM- added another dimension to PAOK’s attack)

Varela- 5 (Average)

Pelkas- 5 (Didn’t have enough time to impact that game in any way)

Manager rating- Razvan Lucescu- 6- Choose the best side possible but wasn’t helped by the early red card. He did make a good decision to bring Warda on at half-time as he added another dimension to the 10 men PAOK attack.

Match Stats       

 Chelsea                        PAOK

Possession (%)               63                                37

Shots                                  28                               8

Shots on Target                10                                0

Corners                                12                               2

Fouls                                      9                                10

 

Position in Europa League table (Group L)

Chelsea are top of the group with maximum points of 15, and a +9 goal difference. Whereas PAOK are bottom of the group with only 3 points and a goal difference of -5. The second qualification spot is now up for grabs going into the final match day between BATE and Vidi who both have 6 points, but BATE are currently ahead of them in the table of tonight’s win against the Hungarian opposition because they have a better goal difference.

Next games for both teams

Chelsea are next in action on Sunday when they take on Fulham at 11am (UK time) in the West-London Derby at Stamford Bridge. In terms of next European action for the blues, on the final matchday, they take on Vidi away in Hungary at 5:55 (UK time) on the 13th December. Whereas for the Greeks, they are next in action on the 3rd of December where they take Lamia away from home at 5:00pm (UK time). They are next in European action for the last time on the 13th  December, when they face BATE Borisov at home at 5:55pm (UK time).

By Danyal Khan

Chelsea vs PAOK Europa League Match Preview: 29th November

Chelsea will be looking to tie up the group on Thursday and guarantee that they will top group L with a win over PAOK at Stamford Bridge at 8pm.

They will be looking to continue their  100% win record in Group L, which was in doubt in the last match for Chelsea in the Europa League, where a goal from Olivier Giroud was enough for Chelsea to see off BATE in Belarus.

On the Other hand, PAOK need a positive result from Stamford Bridge to keep their hopes of qualification from Group L alive, considering that they sit 3 points behind second-placed Vidi in Group L.

A failure to win at Stamford Bridge, coupled with a draw in the game between BATE and Vidi, would end PAOK’s European adventures for another year.  Victory for Vidi away at BATE in the early kickoff, meanwhile, will render this fixture a dead rubber for Razvan Lucescu‘s side.

Chelsea are currently in 1st place with 12 points and a positive goal difference of +5.

The reverse fixtures between the two sides in Greece on matchday 1 in the Europa League finished 1-0 to the blues with a Willian goal in the 7th minute being enough for the blues to pick up the 3 points in Greece.

Maurizio Sarri is expected to rotate his squad ahead of this group match on Thursday, considering that they play on Sunday in the London Derby against their neighbours Fulham in the Premier League.

This isn’t a must-win game for Sarri’s blues, but finishing the group early would mean that the Italian boss could use the youngsters like Ampadu and Hudson-Odoi in their last group game, away in Hungary against Vidi. So that should be the incentive for Sarri’ blues to get the job done on Thursday.

The Other incentive for Sarri’s blues is to get that Tottenham performance out of their system, so this group game provides them with an opportunity to bounce back.

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Form in the Europa League;

Chelsea-W/W/W/W

PAOK-  L/W/L/L

Team News

Chelsea

An injury knocked sustained by Eden Hazard aside, Sarri has a fully-fit squad to choose from on Thursday night.

A number of fringe players are likely to get the nod here, even if top spot is not yet secured, so the likes of Cesc FabregasPedroEmerson Palmieri and Davide Zappacosta should all return to the fold.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek is also in contention, a month on from scoring a hat-trick in a comfortable win against BATE here, while Olivier Giroud is expected to start instead of Alvaro Morata up top.

PAOK

In terms of the visitors, Mauricio may return alongside Pontus Wernbloom in defensive midfield if Lucescu continues to chop and change in that department.

Dimitris Pelkas is another in line to return on the back of the loss to Vidi, though Aleksandar Prijovic should continue to lead the line after following up his goal in Serbia’s win over Lithuania with a strike against Xanthi.

Meanwhile, Omar El Kaddouri is at risk of missing PAOK’s final game should he pick up a yellow card on Thursday evening.

Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Caballero; Zappacosta, Cahill, Christensen, Emerson; Loftus-Cheek, Fabregas, Barkley; Pedro, Giroud, Willian

PAOK possible starting lineup:
Paschalakis; Matos, Varela, Crespo, Tosca; Wernbloom, Mauricio; Limnios, Pelkas, Kaddouri; Prijovic

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Manager and Player Comments;

Chelsea Manager- Maurizio Sarri

Summary of the press conference (Credit: Nizaar Kinsella)

  1. Hazard injured, not seriously, Moses out too
  2. Hudson-Odoi in 18 vs PAOK, Sarri explained he needs to improve
  3. Jorginho-Kante won’t switch positions
  4. Sarri met every Chelsea  player after the loss to Spurs to discuss their “lack of determination”

Chelsea Striker Olivier Giroud

Giroud on Spurs loss: “We were not mentally ready to play this kind of game. I don’t know [why]. If I had the answer maybe I could be in Sarri’s staff.”

Giroud on squad reaction to Spurs defeat: “It was a very disappointing result. The manager was not happy at all with our performance. We just want to take the defeat. It was our first defeat but it was hard to accept it.”

Giroud on understanding Sarri: “I think we understand his philosophy and how he wants us to play on the pitch. Basically, it is about following the ball, pressing high, being compact, but we didn’t do it against Spurs. So we have to come back to these principles.”

Giroud on three goals in four matches: “As a striker, it is always nice for confidence to score. I am not happy with the result but it is nice to come on the pitch and be efficient. I had different preparation because I came back [from France] after many in the team”

Giroud on fighting for starts at Chelsea: “It is quite tough for me in these past few weeks. I am a competitor and I want to be on the pitch to reach our targets and give my best. It is a big club with another good striker so the competition is quite fair.”

Giroud on change of position for Kante: “I think N’Golo can play in every single position in midfield. The manager’s philosophy means Jorginho and Cesc play an important part of our game. In the manager’s mind, N’Golo is more efficient to play box-to-box.”

Match Facts/ Head to Head Stats

Chelsea’s 1-0 win in Salonika on matchday one was the first meeting between these two clubs in a UEFA competition.

The English side are now unbeaten in five matches against Greek opposition and have won both home matches, most recently beating Olympiacos 3-0 in the 2007-08 Champions League last 16.

PAOK have a good record away to Premier League opposition, meanwhile, drawing 1-1 with Arsenal and winning 2-1 at Tottenham Hotspur on their previous two visits to these shores.

Betting Odds/My Prediction

Sky Bet have made Chelsea clear favourites for this game with a Chelsea win being priced at 1/3. A draw between these two sides is being priced at 4/1. And an unexpected PAOK win at Stamford Bridge is being priced at 8/1.

I am going for a tight 2-1 win to Chelsea. I think they will bounce back after that Tottenham result, but due to the fact that PAOK needs a positive result at the Bridge to keep their hopes of qualification alive, I think they will give it all they got at Stamford Bridge. However, I think the quality of Chelsea will just show through, hence why I have gone for a Chelsea win.

By Danyal Khan

 

BATE Borisov vs Chelsea 0-1 Match Report and Player Ratings article- Europa League- 8th November

Goals; BATE Borisov

            Chelsea- Giroud (51′)

Olivier Giroud’s first goal of the season was enough for a fortuitous Chelsea to edge past BATE Borisov 0-1 in the Europa League and qualify from Group L.

Surprisingly, the underdogs from Belarus started the much livelier and in all fairness played better than the blues in the first half. From the first whistle to half time, BATE  put the Chelsea defence under alot of pressure with their high press game in attacking areas forcing the Chelsea defence and midfielders into a few mistakes. The first shot of the game was an overhead kick  in the second minute from Skavysh which was wide Kepa’s post but that was the first warning sign for Chelsea.

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Source: Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

The best chance of the first half came to BATE, and in the 11th minute, the ball found Baga on the edge of the box, and Chelsea’s failure to close down the player nearly cost them the first goal of the game as Baga’s thunderous shot thundered off Kepa’s post! BATE also nearly scored from the corner 2 minutes after Baga’s great chance, when Dragun’s flicked header at the near post was well saved by Kepa and just about scrambled away by Chelsea’s defence. These were very bleak warning signs for Chelsea going into the half-time break- luckily at 0-0…

Chelsea’s best chances of the first half were very scarce even though they had the majority of the possession in the first half. And that is credit to the way that BATE Borisov played in the first half, with Giroud and Emerson having Chelsea’s only real attempts of the game, but none of them being real clear cut chances.

So Chelsea had to step it up in the second half, otherwise if they didn’t, then there would have been a good chance that their unbeaten record in all competitions could end tonight in Belarus…

Unsurprisingly, Maurizio’s Sarri’s team talk had Chelsea fired up in the earlier stages of the second half, and their early pressure paid off with the first goal of the game, when Emerson’s cross from the left hand side was headed in by Giroud after he got in front of is marker. That goal was a relief for Chelsea and a massive relief for Olivier Giroud who ended his long goal drought.  The goalkeeper maybe could have done better with that one. However, Chelsea’s higher intensity didn’t last for too long, and the pattern of the first half resumed with BATE Borisov looking very dangerous.

And they could have levelled in the 58th minute when Dragun shot found Signevich in the box and he diverted Dragun’s misguided shot onto the bar. And only a minute after, BATE missed another great chance when Rios’s shot from inside the box was blazed over the bar, after Signevich’s pull back found an Onrushing Rios in acres of space, and he couldn’t keep his shot under the bar. BATE’S only other chances in the second half came nearer the end of the game with the substitute Berezkin pulling his shot in the 87th minute just wide of the post. Dramatically, in the last minute of stoppage time, from a BATE corner, Dragun’s shot from the edge of the box  smashed the post and again was scrambled clear by the Chelsea defence. That was the third time that the Belarusian champions hit the woodwork in this game!

Chelsea started the second half really well, but couldn’t add a second before the BATE onslaught happened late on in the game, with Giroud, Jorginho , Hazard and Barkley all missing chances for Chelsea to kill off the game.

Overall, Chelsea were very lucky to get away with all 3 points, whereas for BATE, they performed very well tonight (much better than their performance at Stamford Bridge), and just lacked a little bit of quality and luck which they needed to obtain at least 1 valuable point from this game.

 

Player and Manager ratings out of 10

BATE Borisov- Formation: 4-3-3

Scherbitski- 6 (Made some really good saves, but maybe could have done better for the Chelsea goal)

Rios- 7 (defensively solid, caused Emerson alot of problems. However missed a massive chance to score for BATE)

Volkov- 7 (on the whole, defensively solid)

Filipenko- 7 (on the whole, defensively solid)

Filipovic- 7 (defensively solid)

Baga- 8 (played very well- unlucky not to score with his attempt in the first half, which thundered off the post)

Dragun- 8 (Very solid in the midfield, nearly got an assist for Signevich’s chance which he should of finished. He nearly also scored in the first half with a header from a corner which was well saved by Kepa)

Hleb- 6 (didn’t have a massive effect on the game)

Skavysh- 7 (lively in the attacking areas, caused Chelsea’s defence a  few problems)

Signevich- 5 (quite game. The only chance he got in the game was when he hit the bar!)

Stasevich- 6 (caused Chelsea’s defence a few problems with his pace)

Subs;

Tuominen- 7 (Impacted the game really well. Unfortunate not to score in the dying seconds of the game when his shot thundered off the post)

Moukam- 6 (lively when came on. didn’t have alot of time to impact the game)

Berezkin- 6 (lively when came on. Also didn’t have alot of time to impact the game, but he nearly scored in the 87th minute with a shot which just drifted wide of Kepa’s post)

Manager rating-Aleksey Baga- 8- picked his best 11 and his team caused Chelsea many problems. Unlucky that his side didn’t get at least a point, but it was a much better performance from his side tonight compared to the reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge in the attacking and defensive side of things.

 

Chelsea- Formation: 4-3-3

Kepa- 5 (average, didn’t have many saves to make. Could do nothing about the 3 attempts from BATE which hit the post)

Emerson- 6 (suspect defensively but got the assist for Giroud’s goal)

Cahill- 6 (a little shaky at the back, but kept a clean sheet at the end of the day)/

Christensen- 6 (same as Cahill)

Zappacosta- 4 (poor defensively and couldn’t deliver a good ball into the box)

Jorginho- 6 (controlled performance)

Barkley- 6 (poor first half but livened up in the second half)

Loftus Cheek- 5 (Average- kept giving the ball away. Nothing like how he played in revers fixture at Stamford Bridge where he scored that hatrick).

Hazard- 6 (didn’t really affect the game today for Chelsea. Was just played to get minutes under his belt after being out with a back injury.)

Pedro- 6 (poor in first half, but much better in the second half)

Giroud- 7 (Had multiple chances to score, but took his header well in the second half to end his long goal drought)

Subs;

Willian- 5 (didn’t impact the game much)

Kovacic- 5 (didn’t impact the game much)

Hudson-Odoi- 5 (didn’t have enough time to impact the game)

 

Manager rating- Maurizio Sarri- 7- picked a strong side who went out there and put on a professional performance, although they were very luck to gain all 3 points.

 

Match Statistics 

   BATE Borisov                      Chelsea

Possession (%)                26                                    74

Shots                                  9                                      17

Shots on Target                1                                        4

Corners                               3                                        6

Fouls                                    14                                      5

Position in Europa League Group

Chelsea have qualified for the last 32, and have 12 points from 12 with a goal difference of +5. Vidi FC are second with 6 points after their crucial 1-0 win at home against PAOK.  PAOK are in third place with 3 points. And BATE are in 4th place with 3 points, but a worse goal difference than PAOK.

Next Games for both teams

In the Europa League, both these teams are next in action on the 29th of October with Chelsea playing PAOK at home at 8pm. Whereas at 5:55pm (UK time), BATE Borisov take on Vidi FC in Belarus. In terms of the domestic league for both sides, Chelsea are next in action in the Premier League on Sunday where they take on Everton FC at 2:15pm (UK time) at Stamford Bridge. Whereas in the Belarusian league, BATE are next in action on the 21st of November where they take on Shakhtyor Soligorsk away from home at 3pm (UK time).

By Danyal Khan (Twitter- @DKMatchreports)

BATE Borisov vs Chelsea Europa League Match Preview: 8th November

Chelsea will be looking to go 4 unbeaten in their Europa League campaign with a win over BATE Borisov at the Borisov Arena in Belarus.

BATE will be looking will be looking to upset the blues by beating Chelsea when they face off on Thursday at 5:55pm (UK time).

The reverse fixture between these two sides on the 25th October finished 3-1 to Chelsea with Ruben Loftus Cheek bagging a hat-trick in the process when these two sides met at Stamford Bridge.

RLC

Source: Clive Rose/Getty Images

BATE are currently bottom of the group on goal difference with the same points as third and second place Vidi FC and PAOK, so they will see this game as one where they will have to get something out of to help them stand a chance of getting out of Group L.

Whereas for Chelsea, a win in this game will guarantee them a place in the next round of the Europa League – which would be useful for Maurizio Sarri as he could give younger players a chance in the remaining group games, such as Hudson-Odoi and Ampadu.

Form in the Europa League-

Chelsea- W/W/W

BATE- W/L/L

Team News

BATE Borisov

Former Arsenal midfielder Alexander Hleb will hope to start for BATE, as will Jasse Tuominen having played his part during Finland’s recent resurgence on the international scene.

Chelsea

Hazard has made just one substitute appearance since October 20, and it would come as a surprise if the winger did not play some part of Thursday’s match. However it has been discovered today that Hazard has travelled with the Chelsea squad to Belarus, so could he start? Or will Sarri put him on the bench, and only use him if they need to?

Willian could also feature ahead of Pedro having been substituted after an hour against Crystal Palace, and Sarri has suggested that Olivier Giroud will be ready to start ahead of Alvaro Morata after overcoming an injury problem.

Either Jorginho or N’Golo Kante are likely to be rested, giving Mateo KovacicCesc Fabregas and Loftus-Cheek the chance for more game time in the middle of the park.

Davide ZappacostaAndreas ChristensenGary Cahill and Emerson Palmieri are likely to make up the back four, with Ethan Ampadu and Callum Hudson-Odoi potentially featuring on the bench.

Manager and Player comments

Chelsea manager- Maurizio Sarri

Sarri on leaving Morata at home: “He played for three matches in a row, so I thought it was better to rest at Cobham and have good training. The only problem is Fabregas who had a fever.”

Sarri on Hazard: “From our doctor there is no risk (in playing him tomorrow). In the last match he played 30 minutes, the best for tomorrow is that he plays 45 to 50 minutes.”

Chelsea player- Mateo Kovacic 

Kovacic: “The squad are in a perfect mood. We are doing well in the league and all competitions. Every game is an opportunity to show ourselves. We will be prepared to win the game.”
Kovacic on Chelsea: “It’s a good thing that we are unbeaten and not playing to our highest level. We need to improve a lot and we need to work on Sarri’s football. We are doing a great job. The team is great and have a great talent.”
Kovacic on improving on assists and goals: “As I have said before it is something I am missing. I am missing the goals and hope to improve on that. I am not watching so much myself, I want the team to do the best. But I need to improve in this aspect.”
Kovacic on Bate: “It will be a tough game. We are doing good but we have a chance to play a good game.”

Predicted line-ups

BATE Borisov possible starting lineup:
Scherbitski; Rios, Filipovic, Filipenko, Volodko; Baga, Dragun, Hleb; Skavysh, Tuominen, Stasevich

Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Kepa, Zappacosta, Cahill, Christensen, Emerson, Jorginho, Kovacic, Kante, Loftus-Cheek, Giroud and Hazard.

Match facts/ Head to Head

Thursday’s fixture will represent just the second competitive meeting between the sides, with October’s clash marking Chelsea’s first-ever clash against Belarusian opposition.

BATE have twice hosted English sides in this competition, with Everton having to come from behind to earn a 2-1 win back in 2009.

Arsenal resisted a late fightback from BATE to register a 4-2 triumph just over 13 months ago.

Betting Odds/My Prediction

Sky Bet have made Chelsea the favourites for this encounter in Belarus with a blues win being priced at 2/5. A draw between these two teams is being priced at 18/5. However, a surprise BATE Borisov win is being priced at 13/2.

My Prediction for this game is a 1-3 win to Chelsea. – Sarri and his squad will be aware that victory in Belarus will see qualification wrapped up with two games to spare, and that should lead to a professional performance from the Blues. BATE have enjoyed success at their home ground in the past, but we expect Chelsea to ease to a comfortable win.

By Danyal Khan