Armed with a narrow but vital 1-0 lead from the first-leg, Chelsea will aim to book their place in the UEFA Europa League semi-final when they take on Slavia Praha at Stamford Bridge on Thursday.
The Blues remain embroiled currently in a tense battle for a top-four finish in the Premier League with as many as four teams including London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham vying for the third and fourth spots in the table.
With just four Premier League games remaining for Chelsea, there is every chance that Maurizio Sarri’s men will miss out on qualification for the Champions League next season. As such, the Italian boss will be tempted to put all his eggs in Europa League basket and target the winner’s medal that will guarantee a place in the Champions League next season.
When it comes to the big games this season, Chelsea haven’t really hit the ground running with plenty of lopsided displays where they have ended up on the losing side. Their record against fellow top-six clubs in the Premier League does not flatter them with the Blues managing just three victories from nine such games so far while tasting defeat on four occasions. One of the defeats was a 6-0 pasting at the hands of Manchester City which every Chelsea fan will sorely remember.
Add in their FA Cup exit at home at the hands of Manchester United and the League Cup final defeat to Manchester City and it is clear to see that Chelsea have struggled majorly in the big clashes this season.
With their dismal record against fellow top clubs in England, it will be interesting to see if Chelsea can step up in the latter stages (semi-final and final) of the Europa League where the quality of opponents is bound to step up a few degrees.