Europa League – Chelsea v Eintracht Frankfurt – Semifinal Round
After a quick turnaround, Europa League is back with leg two of the semifinal matches this week. We’re going to take a quick look at those matchups this week, and after last week’s leg one action, most of the matchups are likely settled, at least per the various odds published around the internet.
Up first, we’re going to take a look at the matchup between English club (and current favorite) Chelsea and SportMuse favorite Eintracht Frankfurt. Their leg two match kicks off from Stamford Bridge in London, England on Thursday, 9 May at 9:00pm GMT (3:00pm EST).
What Happened During Leg One
All the action was confined to the first half of leg one from Frankfurt.
The home club opened things up with a goal in the 23rd minute by Luka Jović, an opening salvo that belied their chances in the match as underdogs. That lead would stick until the very end of the half, with Pedro equalizing for Chelsea just before the half in the 45th minute.
That would be all the scoring in the match, as it ended regulation in a 1-1 draw. However, the visiting Blues picked up an all important road goal should it eventually come down to a tiebreaker, and with the matchup shifting to London, they remain the prohibitive favorites (more on this in a moment).
It wasn’t for a lack of effort on the part of Chelsea. They outshot the Germans 16 to five for the game, with five of those goals being “on target.” They also had a 2-to-1 advantage in possession, and had nearly three times as many corners. Kevin Trapp and the Eintracht Frankfurt defense were simply stellar in front of the home crowd, giving them a solid chance to advance to the final at the end of the month.
What the ‘Experts’ are Saying
Our favorite “experts” happen to be the computer simulations at FiveThirtyEight. As the home team in this leg, Chelsea is favored to advance, doing so in 72% of the simulations. They also remain the overall favorite, and an all-England final in Baku appears to be in the cards at the moment. The home pitch advantage seems to play a role in this rubber match obviously, and the same simulations place the odds at Chelsea winning the match at 62%. Eintracht Frankfurt has to hope that they can find an early goal like they did last week and force Chelsea to play from behind.
What We’re Thinking
I think I’d have more confidence in Eintracht Frankfurt if they hadn’t just lost by five goals in Bundesliga action this past weekend. Furthermore, their last road match in Europa League – last round’s leg one versus Benfica – was an ugly 4-2 loss.
Chelsea, on the other hand, clinched a spot in next season’s Champions League by clinching at least 4th in the Premier League over the weekend, but I still think they’d love to lift the trophy in Azerbaijan at the end of the month. They seemingly have the much stronger club, and have still not lost in Europa League this year, earning their status as favorites in the competition.
I think Chelsea wins this one going away, potentially setting up an all-England final against Arsenal.
Until next time…