Maurizio Sarri will have no complaints about his Chelsea side’s desire after they followed up on their first-leg success with a 5-0 drubbing of Dynamo Kiev – their biggest win in Europa League history.
The pitch was patchy and lacking life, but Chelsea’s performance was anything but, and they quickly raced into the lead.
Olivier Giroud notched up his seventh Europa League goal of the season as he side-footed the ball in from a Ruben Loftus-Cheek knockdown.
Kiev thought they’d got a goal back when Denys Harmash clipped the ball over Kepa Arrizabalaga, but replays showed he was clearly offside.
Chelsea doubled their lead through Giroud again, as he met Marcos Alonso’s curling through ball sumptuously.
The match, let alone the tie, was over by the end of the half, when Alonso, who had been exceptional throughout, got on the end of Callum Hudson-Odoi’s pull-back to send Chelsea into the break three goals to the good.
A combination of renewed impetus from Kiev and relaxation in the intensity of Chelsea’s play ensured a more even-handed start to the second half, but having lured the Ukrainian side in, Willian and Giroud pounced to add another goal to their tally; the Brazilian sent in a free-kick which World Cup-winner Giroud nodded in.
Alonso’s wicked free-kick just moments later almost compounded Kiev’s misery as the Spaniard saw his effort come back off the bar. Giroud went from scorer to provider in the 78th minute, cutting through the defence with an incisive ball that found Hudson-Odoi, who placed his finish into the corner to round off an excellent attacking display from Chelsea.
Here are our player ratings.
Kepa Arrizabalaga - 6
Had a few routine saves to make, but other than that, he was untested.
Davide Zappacosta - 7
Didn’t see much of the ball but didn’t need to as Chelsea’s big game players came to the fore. Was replaced midway through the second-half having suffered a hamstring injury.
Antonio Rudiger - 7
Racked up the most passes of any player on the pitch with 107, and under little pressure, he was unnerved defensively as Chelsea held a good line.
Andreas Christensen - 7
With a pass accuracy of 96%, fans were able to witness glimpses of the type of player Christensen can be when he is full of confidence and enjoying more game time. Untroubled defensively.
Marcos Alonso - 9
Got forward effectively on the overlap playing some well-timed balls into the area. Showed impeccable vision and technique to curl a ball into the path of Giroud, who gratefully doubled Chelsea’s lead.
Scored his first goal since August, sliding in to force home Hudson-Odoi’s pull-back. Was desperately unlucky to see his free-kick hit the underside of the bar in the second-half.
N'Golo Kante - 7
Found it easy to pick up the ball and transition into the attacking phases of the game. His influence was mainly nullified by the effectiveness of Alonso and Ruben Loftus-Cheek on the other flank, which is by no means a bad thing, and only went to emphasise Chelsea’s superiority.
Mateo Kovacic - 7.5
Kept things ticking over in the middle of the park; it is clear where his best position is and Sarri needs to decide between him and Jorginho. Defensively, he offered very reliable and efficient cover, producing five tackles over the 90 minutes
Ruben Loftus-Cheek - 7.5
Played a big role in the opening goal, rising above his marker to nod the ball into the path of Giroud. Dribbled his way past a couple of Kiev players and stabbed an effort goalwards minutes later.
Willian - 8
Some impressive set-piece deliveries, getting the ball rolling with his corner that Giroud eventually tapped in, before crossing perfectly on to the head of the French forward.
Fulfilled his role as captain superbly, but will feel aggrieved not to have scored his customary free-kick goal against Kiev.
Olivier Giroud - 10
Tapped home the opening goal to give Chelsea the lead early on, before racing on to Alonso’s superb ball for his second goal of the night.
Completed his first hat-trick for the Blues just before the hour, nodding in Willian’s free-kick. Having scored three, Giroud continued to torment the defence, playing a lovely ball into Hudson-Odoi, who finished coolly.
Callum Hudson- Odoi - 8.5
In the battle of the teenage sensations, Kiev’s Vitaliy Mykolenko narrowly came out on top in the first half as Hudson-Odoi was second to every ball and guilty of giving away some needless fouls.
He moved inside to seek more of the ball and began to get more shots off as a result. He was rewarded for his intent when he played a quick one-two before laying the ball into the path of Alonso for the third Chelsea goal.
Capped off a huge improvement in his performance with a well-taken goal.
Jorginho – 6: Got involved in the play but his passing was conservative as the tempo slowed towards the back-end of the second-half.
Cesar Azpilicueta – 6: Was only on the field for two minutes before receiving a booking. Defensively solid otherwise.
Pedro – 6: Had only four touches of the ball and, hence, he can hardly be judged other than for his energy off the ball.
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