Olivier Giroud Hat-Trick Sees Chelsea Past Dynamo into Europa League Quarters

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistMarch 14, 2019

KIEV, UKRAINE - MARCH 14:  Olivier Giroud of Chelsea celebrates after scoring his third and his team's fourth goal during the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 Second Leg match between Dynamo Kyiv and Chelsea at NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium on March 14, 2019 in Kiev, Ukraine. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Chelsea breezed into the quarter-finals of the UEFA Europa League on Thursday, as Olivier Giroud's hat-trick inspired them to a 5-0 win on the night and an emphatic 8-0 victory on aggregate.

After a 3-0 win at Stamford Bridge a week ago, any lingering hopes that Dynamo Kiev had of putting together a remarkable turnaround at home were extinguished after just five minutes when Giroud turned home Willian's corner.

Giroud netted again before the break, finishing calmly after a pinpoint pass from Marcos Alonso. The Spain full-back then got in on the act on the stroke of half-time, prodding home Callum Hudson-Odoi's cross.

In the second period, the Blues continued to pile on the pressure, with Giroud capping off a memorable night with his third before the hour mark. Hudson-Odoi then continued his excellent form in the competition with the Blues' fifth on the night.

Here's the moment Giroud completed his hat-trick (U.S. only):

The Blues will find out who their next opponent is in Friday's quarter-final draw.

     

Blues Should Prioritise Europa League Over Top-4 EPL Chase

There has been plenty of criticism of Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri this season, but overall, the coach has got things spot-on in the Europa League.

The first leg of the tie with Kiev was one example, as the side he fielded blew away the Ukrainian outfit at Stamford Bridge. It meant Chelsea had breathing room ahead of what had the potential to be a challenging away fixture.

From the off the Blues played with freedom, and after Giroud's early goal, they were completely dominant.

Goal's Nizaar Kinsella praised the approach of the visiting players as they raced into a three-goal lead by the interval:

Liam Twomey of ESPN FC commented on how poor the home side were on the night:

It's not only a competition the team has taken to, but the supporters have as well. There's been a freshness about the XIs being selected by Sarri, with fans delighted to see the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Hudson-Odoi not only involved but shining.

With that in mind and just five matches between the Blues and the Europa League trophy, it would make sense for Sarri to prioritise the tournament during the 2018-19 run-in, especially with the race for a top-four spot in the Premier League so competitive.

Chelsea, in sixth, are three points off Arsenal in fourth with a game in hand, while Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur are also in the mix. Qualifying for next season's Champions League via a Europa League championship would not only be more enjoyable, but at this point it appears more feasible.

     

What's Next?

Chelsea's quest to finish in the top four in the Premier League will continue on Sunday, as they travel to Everton. It's Olimpik Donetsk on Sunday for Dynamo, as they play the final game of their domestic campaign.

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