A UEFA Europa League quarter-final is in touching distance for Maurizio Sarri and his men, setting a comfortable 3-0 buffer against Dynamo Kiev in their opening round of 16 leg.

Pedro, Willian and Callum Hudson-Odoi all marked an evening to savour in the capital as they head to the Ukraine firmly in control of their own destiny.

Chelsea, former champions of the competition, travel to Kiev unbeaten in 12 UEFA Europa League games whilst the hosts have lost the first away leg in a UEFA tournament on 13 occasions; unlucky for some.

Ahead of this seemingly straightforward match up, we have created a combined Chelsea and Kiev line-up, based on UEFA Europa League statistics provided by WhoScored.com.

Formation: 3-4-3

Goalkeeper: Denys Boyko (Dynamo Kiev) 6.68

Despite Denys Boyko conceding on 11 occasions during the competition, the experienced shot-stopper made a handful of terrific saves against Ross Barkley and Pedro in the first tie to keep the score redeemable.

Only Andre Hansen of Rosenborg has saved more from inside his penalty area than the Kiev keeper  (Hansen 20, Boyko 17), ranking joint third for six-yard box saves (two).

Centre-back: Tamas Kadar (Dynamo Kiev) 7.14

Again, Tamas Kadar creeps into our line-up solely by default to provide us with enough defenders (Mateo Kovacic the unfortunate party to miss out).

A familiar foe of Chelsea’s during spells at Newcastle United and Huddersfield Town yet he missed the first game, Kadar ranks joint-third for aerial duals won amongst defenders (31); no Kiev player has a better record.

Centre-back: Emerson (Chelsea) 7.38

Having started four of the last six matches, Blues fans are witnessing a new era of left-back. With pace and purpose, Emerson appears to have ticked the boxes.

No full-back has completed a higher number of successful dribbles (17), third for total attempted dribbles overall (22).

Centre-back: Vitaliy Mykolenko (Dynamo Kiev) 7.43

Most find the European stage is a daunting prospect; not for this 19-year-old. Vitaliy Mykolenko has taken his time in the spotlight to full-effect, a deal away from Dynamo is not too far off in the future.

Mykolenko boasts the most interceptions for a full-back (26) and for defenders under the age of 20, he has the most tackles (22) and crosses blocked (eight).

Right-midfield: Viktor Tsygankov (Dynamo Kiev) 7.32

Kiev have a hot-bed of raw talent emerging, Viktor Tsygankov is no exception. Once likened to Gareth Bale, the pair have reached different levels however the Ukrainian has plenty of positive years ahead of him.

Of midfielders to have featured over seven times, Tsygankov leads the way for key passes (20). He also sits joint-third for overall assists in the tournament (four).

Centre-midfield: Ross Barkley (Chelsea) 7.32

A double against Malmo in the previous round earned Barkley a recall against Kiev, denied a third goal in Europe by the legs of Boyko.

Seemingly found his comfort away from Stamford Bridge, no central midfielder has made more passes away from home this campaign than Barkley (309) nor completed a higher amount of successful short passes (278). 

Centre-midfield: Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea) 7.45

On the contrary, Ruben Loftus-Cheek has flourished in front of the Chelsea fans in London, laying off Hudson-Odoi for the third goal against the Ukrainians during a delightful Dynamo dissection.

The Englishman out-weighs players in the centre of the park for successful dribbles at home (15), whilst also adding the joint-third highest goal tally from midfield (three).

Left-midfield: Pedro (Chelsea) 7.29

Pedro could, and arguably should, have taken home the match ball against Kiev if not for an admirable goalkeeping display. Instead, he settled for his first European goal of the year, his ninth in all competitions.

He leads the way for both total attempted passes of wide players (358) and accurate short passes (305).

Forward: Willian (Chelsea) 7.66

Swiftly becoming a constant Kiev nightmare, Willian’s sumptuous free-kick for Chelsea’s second was almost identical to that he scored four years ago, in the UEFA Champions League group stage against the same opposition.

Creator and chief, Willian marches clear for total key passes (27), second behind eliminated Igor Stasevich of BATE Borisov for assists (Stasevich seven, Willian five).

Forward: Olivier Giroud (Chelsea) 7.38

Unable to add his name to the scoresheet, Olivier Giroud guaranteed the next best thing by supplying Pedro’s goal in typical elegant fashion; a backheeled nutmeg.

He and Muna Dabbur of Salzburg are the highest scorers from open play (five), Giroud scoring four of these with his favoured left foot; Giovani Lo Celso is the only player to have scored more (five).

Forward: Callum Hudson-Odoi (Chelsea) 7.45

It is becoming a welcomed regularity that Callum Hudson-Odoi orders his plaudits in the UEFA Europa League, adding a third goal in the tournament to down Dynamo’s dreams of progressing.

Dani Olmo of Dinamo Zagreb and Hudson-Odoi are tied for successful dribbles (26), despite the latter playing 482 minutes less. Also, no English player has more key passes (13), making great viewing for Gareth Southgate’s upcoming international team selection.

By Nathaniel Kay

About Author

I am Dan Pentland and I am a York City season ticket holder and volunteer for men's health charity Prostate Cancer UK. In May 2015, I completed my childhood dream of visiting all 92 Football League grounds. Follow me on Twitter @DanPentlandpcuk and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/dpentlandawaydayspcuk/

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