Chelsea will continue their quest for a second Europa League title on Thursday when they travel to the Czech Republic to face Slavia Prague in the first leg of the quarter-final.
The Blues won the Europa League title in 2013 and remained unbeaten in the competition this season and will be hoping to carry on with that momentum against the club that ousted Sevilla from the competition in the round of 16.
With the current form the London club have displayed in their last three games in the Premier League which saw them return to third place on the League table, they must pursue an away victory so as to make the return leg a mere formality at Stamford Bridge next week.
However, Slavia’s current run of form poses a threat to the London club. They are seven points adrift of Plzen, the defending champions in the Czech league, they saw off 5 times Europa league champions, Sevilla and they are in the quarter-final for the first time and they could shock the Blues
HEAD TO HEAD
Both teams will be meeting for the first time in UEFA Competition but this is certainly not the first time Slavia will be playing against the English team.
The game against Chelsea will be their tenth game against English opposition and they have managed just one victory in their previous nine UEFA matches against Premier League clubs which was a 2-1 at home to Leeds in the 1999/2000 UEFA Cup quarter-finals.
Slavia have also lost their two other two-legged ties against English clubs, both in the UEFA Cup against Tottenham Hotspur, with first-leg defeats in Prague. Their heaviest defeat in Europe was against English opposition – 0-7 away to Arsenal in the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League group stage.
Chelsea, on the other hand, is unbeaten in six matches against Czech clubs and have yet to concede on three visits to Prague, winning each of their last two matches in the Czech capital 1-0 against Sparta Praha – in the 2003/04 UEFA Champions League group stage and the 2012/13 UEFA Europa League round of 32.
After beginning the season on an impressive form, Chelsea was struggling to own a space in the Premier League top four.
Of recent, Chelsea have hit their best of form again winning three consecutive matches for the first time since the beginning of the 2018-2019 Premier League season.
In the Europa League, they are a formidable force having reached the quarter-finals unbeaten and will hope to extend that run as Maurizio Sarri sees the Europa League title as the surest way to return the club to the Champions League next season.
Their host, Prague has not conceded at home in any of their first four UEFA Europa League fixtures this term – they beat Bordeaux (1-0) and Zenit (2-0) and drew 0-0 against København and Genk – before Sevilla struck three times in that 7 goals thriller at the second round of the Round of 16 in Prague. Slavia is undefeated in their last six European home fixtures. They won three and drew three.
Their current league form will also be a morale booster to the Czech side as they remain seven points clear from defending champion, Viktoria Plzen.
With Chelsea Chelsea as the only team in the quarter-final who have lifted the trophy since it was renamed Europa League, they have no other choice than to maintain their impeccable record when they take on Slavia.