It's been a disappointing season for Chelsea so far, and the heat under Jose Mourinho's chair has been increasing steadily of late. Now with Dynamo Kyiv coming to town for a Champions League tilt, one that sees Chelsea start the day in third place in Group G, the pressure is as high as ever.
Dynamo held Chelsea to a draw in the Ukraine two weeks ago, largely outplaying the English side during the match. That could give them significant confidence coming into today's game in London, especially as they've played well since then and Chelsea, well, haven't. The Blues are coming off a home loss against rival Liverpool, already their third loss at home in the league this season after going undefeated at Stamford Bridge last season. They have just one win in their last six matches compared to Dynamo's four wins in that time, putting all the momentum in the Ukrainians' favor. Can Chelsea turn things around? Only one way to find out.
Key player — Andriy Yarmolenko (Dynamo Kyiv)
While Dynamo have plenty of talent in their team — there's a reason they're in the Champions League, after all — Yarmolenko is their best player and the greatest single threat that Chelsea will face. His dynamic talent both on and off the ball in the final third of the pitch is something that demands constant attention, and Yarmolenko can and will punish and lapses in that attention.
Key factor — Chelsea's focus
It's no secret that Chelsea haven't played anywhere near their best lately, and at times have looked distant or disoriented on the pitch. When they're sharp and focused, they're one of the best teams around — remember, this is still basically the same team that easily won the Premier League last season. That focus hasn't really been there this season, though, and the reason why isn't entirely clear. If they regain it for this match, though, Dynamo are pretty much hosed.
Chelsea injuries and suspensions
Out: Thibaut Courtois, Falcao In doubt: Pedro
Dynamo Kyiv injuries and suspensions
Out: Danilo Silva
Chelsea are still missing one of the best goalkeepers around thanks to Courtois' long-term knee injury, and Falcaro is a more recent miss and hit to their attacking depth. Dynamo will be missing one of their best defenders in Danilo, but his absence is for happier reasons: his wife is due to give birth soon, and he's been excused from the team to attend to his soon-to-be-expanded family.
Match Date/Time: Wednesday, 2:45 p.m. ET, 7:45 p.m. local
Venue: Stamford Bridge, London, England
TV: Fox Sports regional networks, MASN (U.S.), Futbol 2, Kanal 5 (Ukraine), BT Sport 2 (U.K.)
Online: ESPN3 (U.S.), BT Sport Live Streaming (U.K.)