Monday, December 16, 2019

Prediction: Chelsea vs Eintracht Frankfurt

Verdict: Chelsea win and both teams to score

Best Odds: 7/4

Bookmaker: Bet365

Looking to secure their spot in Azerbaijan next month, Chelsea will welcome Bundesliga outfit Eintracht Frankfurt to Stamford Bridge for their second-leg showdown on Thursday night.

Chelsea

Starting with the hosts, while Maurizio Sarri may have come under some scrutiny in his debut season at Stamford Bridge, the former Napoli boss has managed to secure a Champions League return for next year. Securing the Blues a top-four finish in the Premier League and still with their sights set on lifting the Europa League title in Baku next month, a huge part of their success this season has come down to their continued performance in West London. Chelsea are unbeaten in their last nine matches on home soil across all competitions and will be boosted by their eye-catching display in their 3-0 win over Watford on Sunday. Also winning all eight of their European matches at Stamford Bridge in this year’s tournament and scoring 19 goals on that winning run, one man to watch will be the Europa League leading goalscorer, Olivier Giroud. The World Cup-winner has bagged 10 goals in this year’s tournament and is averaging a goal every 90 minutes.

Team News

​Chelsea midfielder ​N’golo Kante went off with a hamstring injury against Watford at the weekend. Sarri admitted that it was a mistake to play the Frenchman, as he is now feared to be out for the remainder of the season.

Eintracht Frankfurt

As for the visitors, while Eintracht Frankfurt are dreaming of securing their first top-four finish in the Bundesliga this year, it has been a worrying end to the campaign for Adi Hütter’s men. Coming off the back of a season-worse showing in their 6-1 hammering away at Bayer Leverkusen last weekend, the Eagles have failed to win any of their last four outings across all competitions. A huge part of their recent issues has come down to their worrying performances away from the Commerzbank-Arena. Suffering a 4-2 defeat away at Benfica in their last Europa League matchup on the road, the visitors have failed to win any of their last three away appearances, conceding a staggering 11 goals. While Frankfurt might be struggling with their defensive issues at the back end of the season, one man who has continued to shine this year is leading goalscorer, Luka Jović. Sat only behind Olivier Giroud in the Europa League’s goalscoring charts, the Serbian international has bagged 27 goals across all competitions, including finding the net against Chelsea last week.

Team News

Eintracht Frankfurt will be waiting to hear on the fitness of key forward Sebastien Haller.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Chelsea have been eliminated on three of the last four occasions they’ve drawn the first leg of a European knockout tie away from home, including their most recent two (versus Paris St-Germain in the 2014-15 Champions League and versus Atletico in the 2013-14 Champions League).
  • Chelsea could reach their first major European final since the 2013 Europa League, when they beat Benfica 2-1 under manager Rafael Benitez.
  • Eintracht Frankfurt are looking to reach their first European final since the 1980 UEFA Cup, when they beat fellow German side Borussia Moenchengladbach on away goals over two legs.
  • Chelsea have never lost a home game against German opponents in all competitions (won seven, drew two), keeping a clean sheet in seven of their nine such games.
  • Eintracht Frankfurt have lost their last four away games against English sides by an aggregate score of 1-11. However, their last such game was at Spurs in 1982.

Conclusion

With Chelsea picking up a crucial away goal at the Commerzbank-Arena last week, Maurizio Sarri should see Thursday as a great opportunity to secure their spot in Baku next month. Given Frankfurt’s very worrying defensive issues on the road, coupled with the host’s stellar record at Stamford Bridge, we’re backing the Premier League outfit to come away with the win in what could be a lively encounter in West London.

Verdict: Chelsea win and both teams to score

Best Odds: 7/4

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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