Sky Sports pundit gives his prediction for Eintracht Frankfurt v Chelsea FC
Charlie Nicholas looks ahead to Chelsea FC's clash with Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League semi-finals
Charlie Nicholas is tipping Eintracht Frankfurt to claim a 2-1 win over Chelsea FC in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final clash on Thursday night.
The Blues head into the game looking to bounce back to winning ways after they earned a 1-1 draw against Manchester United in the Premier League on Sunday.
Chelsea FC are aiming to try and book their place in the final of Europe’s second tier club competition as they look to win a trophy in Maurizio Sarri’s first campaign in charge in England.
The west London side have struggled to find consistent form all season but they are now in pole position to claim a top-four finish in the Premier League with two games left to play.
The Blues know that victory in the Europa League this season would also offer them another possible route into next term’s Champions League.
However, Arsenal legend Nicholas is tipping the Bundesliga side to win at home and take a 2-1 advantage into the second leg at Stamford Bridge next week.
Nicholas told Sky Sports: “This is a tough game to predict. Frankfurt are doing well, they had a big comeback in the quarter-finals and will be looking at the key to Chelsea, which is Eden Hazard of course.
“They will sit back – German teams have a good structure – but Hazard can blow that structure away and is key to what Chelsea do.
“Chelsea will try and play on the counter-attack – I hope Maurizio Sarri doesn’t play Hazard as a number nine.
“He is easier to mark and harder to get the ball to. Marcos Alonso is definitely vulnerable when he plays left-back, so I am looking at a slight defeat for Chelsea that will leave them with work to do before next week’s return at Stamford Bridge.”
Chelsea FC won the Europa League title back in 2013 with a 2-1 win over Benfica under Rafael Benitez.
The Blues won the FA Cup but finished fifth in the Premier League last season under Antonio Conte.