Willian, Chelsea Dominate Dynamo Kiev 3-0 in Europa League 1st Leg

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistMarch 7, 2019

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 07:  Willian of Chelsea celebrates scoring their 2nd goal during the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 First Leg match between Chelsea and Dynamo Kyiv at Stamford Bridge on March 7, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Chelsea defeated Dynamo Kiev 3-0 in the first leg of their last-16 clash in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday.

Pedro linked with Olivier Giroud to score after 17 minutes and a well-executed free-kick saw Willian hit the back of the net after 65 minutes.

Callum Hudson-Odoi was once again left on the bench, but the winger came on in the final stages and made it 3-0 in the 90th minute.

It was a simple night for the Premier League side, who should advance from the second leg after a satisfactory performance at Stamford Bridge.


Olivier Giroud Is Chelsea's Best Striker

Maurizio Sarri continued to implement his favoured tactics against Kiev at Stamford Bridge, but left his primary talent on the bench.

Eden Hazard and Gonzalo Higuain were named as substitutes, with the level of opposition poor from start to finish.

Giroud was given the rare task of starting as the No. 9, and the France international delivered a fine performance.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 07: Mykyta Burda of Dynamo Kyiv and Oliver Giroud of Chelsea during the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 First Leg match between Chelsea and Dynamo Kyiv at Stamford Bridge on March 7, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by James Williams
James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

The 32-year-old spent extended periods on the bench at former club Arsenal, but the player is better than his six Premier League starts this term suggest.

Giroud is not just a goal poacher, and he proved his creativity and vision as he assisted Pedro for the opener.

The striker played a sumptuous backheel through his marker's legs, allowing Pedro to skip through for the finish.

It was his best moment of the match and showed Giroud is a talent who is underappreciated.

OptaJoe highlighted the player's influence on his team:

OptaJoe @OptaJoe

7 - Olivier Giroud has been directly involved in seven goals in his last six Europa League games for Chelsea, scoring six and assisting one. Spearhead. #CHEDYN #UEL https://t.co/VKm0HChWht

Giroud's skill set is perfect to play as the lone striker. Higuain has previously proven himself to be a world-class finisher, but the Juventus loan forward does not possess the Frenchman's ability to link play.

Higuain has appeared jaded even after his fresh start at Chelsea, and there's a case for Giroud to start more games in the final stretch of the season.

With Hazard breaking from the left, a partnership with the former Gunner could bring Sarri the consistency he craves from his team.


What's Next?

Chelsea and Kiev both feature on Sunday. The Blues are in Premier League action against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday, while Dynamo welcome bottom side FC Arsenal Kyiv in the Ukrainian Premier League.