Chelsea’s Europa league campaign has mostly been a struggle, as the players have needed last-minute goals in order to get to the quarter-final stage. It is also often considered as a distraction by many managers, but once you get to the quarter-finals of the Europa league, it really gives you the feeling of a competition that can be won. Chelsea vs Rubin Kazan at Stamford Bridge will be third of the four marathon encounters for the team.
The Russian team may be fourth in the division, but they should not be taken lightly because they are on a five-match unbeaten run. They have managed to reach this stage of the competition by beating Spanish clubs like Atletico Madrid and Levante along the way.
Benitez has spoken about the importance of finishing in the top four, but his team selection has been conveying other ideas. It will be interesting to see if he fields a strong line-up against Rubin Kazan aware of the Chelsea vs Sunderland match on Sunday.
Some of his team selection is likely to be forced. This includes the defensive positions like centre back and left back. Gary Cahill and Ashley Cole are unavailable for selection, which means that Bertrand is likely to start the match. The likes of Torres, Lampard, and Terry were rested against Manchester United, and they could be set for recall to the starting line-up.
Rubin Kazan manager Kurban Berdyev:
[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]”Like in the round of 32, we got probably the toughest opponent we could get. However, for us it will become just an extra motivating factor that will make this tie more attractive.
“We will try to give our best in these matches against a top English team to perform at their level.”[/quote]
Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez:
[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]”We are capable of competing and winning in every competition. The players have to be ready, mentally and physically, and they know how important it is to win every game, how important it is to win trophies and finish in the top three.”[/quote]
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech, Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, Bertrand, Mikel, Lampard, Moses, Marin, Mata, Torres
Rubin Kazan (4-2-3-1): Ryzhikov, Kuzmin, Marcano, Sharonov, Kaleshin, Orbaiz, Natkho, Karadeniz, Eremenko, Kasaev, Rondon
Kick-off: Stamford Bridge, Thursday, 4 Apr 2013, 20:05 GMT