A 6-0 thumping by Manchester City and a listless FA Cup defeat to Manchester United appeared to have Maurizio Sarri on the brink,
but, unsavory Kepa Arrizabalaga sideshow aside, the pressure has begun to ease a little of late.
An improved showing in the EFL Cup final has been followed by successive Premier League London derby wins over Tottenham and Fulham,
leaving Chelsea – who boast a game in hand over rivals Manchester United and Arsenal – well positioned in the crowded race for a top-four finish.
Now they turn their attention back to Europe’s secondary club competition, having already easily topped Group Land beat Swedish outfit Malmo 5-1 on aggregate.
Standing in the way of a place in the quarter-finals are Dynamo Kiev, who finished ahead of Arsenal’s next opposition, Rennes, in Group K before ousting Olympiacos in the round of 32.
The visitors, coached by Alyaksandr Khatskevich, currently sit second in the Ukrainian Premier League after 20 matches, seven points adrift of Shakhtar Donetsk.
Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri is considering making changes to his team for Thursday’s Europa League tie at home to Dynamo Kiev (kick-off 8pm) due to tiredness in his squad.
The Blues face the Ukrainian side in the first leg of a last-16 tie at Stamford Bridge on Thursday night but Sarri has concerns over fatigue.
Team News of Chelsea vs Dynamo Kiev
Sarri has hinted at making a few changes amid a congested fixture list,
though will be wary that the Europa League offers another route to Champions League qualification in the event that Chelsea do not finish in the top four.
The likes of Callum Hudson-Odoi and Olivier Giroud both started – and scored – in the second leg against Malmo and will be hoping to play a prominent role once more here.
Willy Caballero may return in goal after Kepa was restored to the starting XI against Fulham, but midfielders Danny Drinkwater (tendon) and Marco van Ginkel (knee) are out injured.
Dynamo Kiev are without Spanish striker Fran Sol, who will require surgery on a shoulder injury suffered against FC Desna on Saturday and could miss up to two months of action.
Top scorer Benjamin Verbic is suspended, which could lead to either Sidcley or Heorhiy Tsitaishvili being drafted in on the left wing.
Sarri has no real injury concerns going into Thursday’s Europa League tie. Danny Drinkwater (tendon) and Marco van Ginkel (knee) are out with long-term injuries.
Winger Benjamin Verbic is suspended for Dynamo Kiev after a yellow card in the previous round against Olympiakos triggered a one-game ban.
Brazilian utility man Sidcley, who is yet to feature for Dynamo this year, could be tasked with replacing Verbic, who has scored 12 goals this season.
Caballero, Azpilicueta, Luiz, Christensen, Emerson, Kovacic, Kante, Barkley, Pedro, Giroud, Willian
Dynamo Kiev XI:
Boyko; Kedziora, Burda, Shabanov, Mykolenko; Shepelev, Buyalskiy; Tysgankov, Shaparenko, Sidcley; Sol
Score prediction: Chelsea 2-0 Dynamo Kiev
TV channel and live stream, and online coverage
The match will be televised live on BT Sport 2 and BT Sport 4K UHD.
BT Sport subscribers will be able to stream the match online via the video player and the BT Sport app.
You can also follow all the action with NewGersy Sport’s LIVE blog.
The two teams have met twice before, during the group stages of the 2015-16 Champions League.
Following a goalless draw in Kiev in which Chelsea twice hit the woodwork, the Blues won 2-1 on home soil courtesy of Willian’s excellent late winner.
Jose Mourinho was sacked just over a month later.