Chelsea may have won the Champions League only 12 months ago by beating the likes of Bayern Munich and Barcelona along the way, but we certainly should not take Benfica lightly ahead of the Europa League final 2013 in Amsterdam.
Benfica have proven this season that they are an extremely dangerous team especially when it comes to attacking.
Benfica vs Chelsea key men to watch:
This 29-year-old Paraguayan created a lot of problems for John Terry in the first leg Champions League quarter-final match last season. He has 31 goals from just 42 matches this season. Benfica primarily attack down the wings, thus looking to pick Cardozo with their deadly crosses. It is likely that David Luiz and Branislav Ivanovic will be the preferred centre back competition.
I have not been convinced by them against an attack that is mobile. They tend to get pulled out of positions quite easily.
Playing as one of the attacking three behind Cardozo, Salvio has been extremely potent this season. He already has 13 goals in 35 appearances in all competitions this season. He is in many ways the ‘Eden Hazard’ of Benfica.
Sitting just in front of the back four, Pérez is known for his defensive abilities. He is also the starting point of several attacks as well. With a pass accuracy of almost 85%, he rarely gives the ball away. He is not the biggest physically, but it is likely to be compensated by the presence of former Chelsea man Nemanja Matić.
This Argentine defender can count Real Madrid as one of his former clubs. He failed to live up to his potential at the Santiago Bernebeu, but since moving to Benfica, he has been outstanding. It is not surprising to know that he is linked with several top European clubs once again. Fernando Torres has his work cut out against this huge physical presence.
Garay stands at 6 ft 4 in and he is expected to play alongside experienced Brazilian defender Luisão.
There is no doubt that Benfica are a very good team, and Chelsea need to be at their best in order to win the Europa League.