Chelsea will be making the trip to Basel looking to achieve what Manchester United and Tottenham have failed to do in recent seasons – win at the St. Jakob-Park. Chelsea’s away record in the European competitions has not been at its best. The club has had just two victories in Europe this season – against Nordsjaelland and Sparta Praha. Rafa Benitez’ men were extremely unconvincing in the 3-2 defeat against Rubin Kazan in the quarterfinals.
After having played regularly against the likes of Barcelona and Bayern Munich, the name FC Basel may appear to be an easy opposition for Chelsea. However, it is not necessarily the case, as Basel have been building a reputation for themselves in Europe by beating the likes of Manchester United and drawing against Tottenham.
Basel are currently top of the Swiss league with a three-point advantage.
Benitez is expected to shuffle the pack, which could see the likes of Lampard and Victor Moses return to the starting line-up. This will be Fernando Torres’ third game in a week, and it will be interesting to see his energy levels. Having the second leg at home has often been spoken of as an advantage, but it is only an advantage if the team scores away from home.
This match is great for goals galore betting, and there are several goals galore tips available today.
It is therefore imperative that Chelsea at least try to get one away goal, which will provide us with some breathing space in the second leg.
The Europa League may be an opportunity to win a trophy, but finishing in the top four is far more important now. It would not be surprising to see Benitez rest a couple of players with the Premier League match against Swansea City during the weekend in mind.
Predicted team line-up:
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech, Azpilicueta, Terry, Cahill, Cole, Lampard, Ramires, Oscar, Mata, Moses, Torres
Basel 1-1 Chelsea