Despite a slight improvement in performance, Chelsea still aren’t winning. Why would it be different when Dynamo Kiev visit?
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Chelsea 1.74 v Dynamo Kiev 6.00; The Draw 3.80
Wednesday, 19:45
Live on BT Sport Showcase and BT Sport 2
Chelsea
This writer was incorrect in his hunch that Chelsea would defeat Liverpool on Saturday, but right that they would resist any temptation to sack Jose Mourinho – the 1.80 Premier League next manager to leave favourite – in between that clash and this potentially decisive Champions League tie.
The Blues are currently third in Group G with four points at the halfway stage, though Mourinho is serene about their prospects of progress because ten points is usually sufficient and two of their final three qualifiers are in west London.
The injury situation isn’t too severe, with Thibaut Courtois and Radamel Falcao confirmed absentees and Branislav Ivanovic and Pedro Rodriguez both doubts, yet it has been overshadowed anyway by allegations of a squad member saying that he would rather lose than win for Mourinho. The coach, John Terry and Cesc Fabregas have all dismissed the claims as nonsense.
Dynamo Kiev
The Ukrainian champions, re-crowned in 2014/15 after five years of Shakhtar dominance, entered their first meeting with Chelsea on a low following a 3-0 home reverse to their main title rivals, but the goalless draw against the slumping Premier League giants helped play them back into form.
A week later, they thrashed second-tier joint-leaders Obolon-Brovar Kiev 5-0 in the cup, before overcoming Metalist 2-0 to maintain parity with Shakhtar at the summit.
Dynamo Kiev haven’t achieved much in the Champions League since last clearing the first round in 1999/00, yet their present squad features plenty of familiar names, from former striker Serhiy Rebrov in the dugout to Aleksandar Dragovic, Miguel Veloso and Andriy Yarmolenko on the pitch.
Match Odds
Dynamo Kiev have a rotten record in England, losing ten and drawing two of their dozen outings, but one of those points was gained on the penultimate visit and their recent away form has been superb. They have won four in a row, haven’t conceded in six and are unbeaten in 12 dating back to April, winning their initial Group G road trip 2-0 at Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Even if you look at the two teams and conclude that the hosts are stronger, there are two questions that you need to ask yourself. Should Chelsea really be 1.74 favourites to win a Champions League game right now? And can you afford to pass up the opportunity to lay them at such an inviting price?
Their previous two Champions League fixtures yielded a single point, they haven’t won in four matches across all competitions and their sole victory in eight was at home to Aston Villa, the Premier League bottom club who have pocketed a single point from their last ten encounters.
Interestingly, while their domestic descent has been sudden, a glance back at Champions League results at Stamford Bridge over the past 19 months indicates that a continental decline has been gradual. They triumphed in a mere two of their five contests before welcoming Maccabi Tel Aviv, and have dropped points in at least one home group tie per season over the last three years.
Heap the off-field drama on top of their black hole of momentum and you have one hell of a lay.
Recommended Bet:
Lay Chelsea to win @ 1.75
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