Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea will be looking to finish the job off and progress to the semi-final of the UEFA Europa League, when they welcome Slavia Prague at Stamford Bridge this evening.
The first leg in the Czech Republic was far from pretty, but the 1-0 victory means that The Blues hold the slightest of advantages.
Although it’s Chelsea at the wheel, the first leg showed Slavia Prague’s qualities on and off the ball to remind the South West London side that it is far from finished.
Ahead of the second leg, we have look at player ratings provided by WhoScored.com and have come up with our own combined team.
Goalkeeper: Kepa Arrizabalaga (Chelsea) 7.02
It’s becoming a fairly common occurrence now that Kepa Arrizabalaga receives the majority of the plaudits and was impressive last time out against Slavia Prague.
The keeper kept his side on the front foot in the tie, having made three fantastic saves that stopped Prague from earning anything from the first leg.
Right-back: Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea) 7.16
Captain consistency, Cesar Azpilicueta, has made a staggering 48 appearances in all competitions so far this season which is more than any other Blues player.
Azpilicueta made four clearances in total last Thursday, which means his presence will undoubtedly be needed in defence, as Prague look to overturn the 1-0 deficit in the first leg.
Centre-back: Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea) 7.18
Antonio Rudiger looks set to miss out on the second leg after he picked up a minor knock in the defeat against Liverpool. This could signal rare game time for Gary Cahill.
However, the powerful German could be missed as he made five clearances in the first leg to keep the Czech side at bay.
Centre-back: Andreas Christensen (Chelsea) 7.13
Another player that has had limited opportunities this season is Andreas Christensen. The UEFA Europa League has been a platform for the Dane and he could play again this evening.
Christensen made the most tackles, interceptions and clearances combined more than any other player on the pitch last time out with 10.
Left-back: Marcos Alonso (Chelsea) 8.03
It is fair to say that the emergence of Emerson has limited Marcos Alonso’s game time as of late, but his performance in the first leg will hold him in good stead when it comes to selection.
Alonso scored the all-important away goal that gives Chelsea the advantage going in to the second leg.
Central midfielder: Ibrahim Traore (Slavia Prague) 6.8
Slavia Prague put on a stern front in the first leg and Ibrahim Traore was one of the standout performers.
The Ivorian made 42 passes in their 1-0 defeat, which was more than Mateo Kovacic with 26 and Ross Barkley with 32.
Central midfielder: Jorginho (Chelsea) 6.92
Despite being first choice in the Premier League, Jorginho has also featured seven times for The Blues in Europe this season, which is a testament to how important he is to Sarri.
A pass master in the holding role, Jorginho managed more passes in the first leg than any other midfielder with 50.
Central midfielder: Ross Barkley (Chelsea) 6.88
Stellar performances earlier on in the season suddenly came crashing down with the emergence of Ruben Loftus-Cheek in the first team.
However, the Europa League will provide a good opportunity to regain some of his form. The last match saw him make three dribbles and 32 passes in total.
Right winger: Willian (Chelsea) 8.31
Although Willian’s chances may become sparse in future, he remains pivotal for the latter stages of this season, especially in the UEFA Europa League.
Arguably the best player on the pitch last Thursday, Willian contributed with three key passes and four dribbles, as well as two shots, one of them which hit the bar.
Striker: Olivier Giroud (Chelsea) 6.73
With The Blues in need of a goal threat and Olivier Giroud firing on all cylinders in the UEFA Europa League, it is a wonder sometimes why the French hitman has not had more game time.
Giroud is the UEFA Europa League’s top goal scorer this season, with nine goals. Although he did not score last Thursday, his presence was felt elsewhere with two key passes.
Left winger: Miroslav Stoch (Slavia Prague) 6.5
Former Blue Miroslav Stoch will be relishing the opportunity of a return to Stamford Bridge, with a place in the semi-final at stake, Stoch will be eager to prove his worth in the Slavia Prague side.
Stoch attempted one shot and one key pass, with a passing accuracy of 84.2%, as he was one of the major threats from last Thursday.
By Darion Westwood