Benfica v CHELSEA: Champions League Preview

Venue: Estadio da Luz

Date: Tuesday 26 March

Kick-off: 1945 GMT

 

No Champions League game at this stage is without its share of controversy for us and this one is’t an exception to that unwritten rule it seems. Following Didier Drogba’s relieved reaction to the news we’d drawn Benfica and not Barcelona, as ever the press have blown it out of all proportions and used it to fire Benfica up.

Not that they need much firing up exactly, with 11 wins from their last 12 at home in the domestic league and a further four wins and two draws at home in the Champions League. No presure for us at all then, given we’ve failed to win away in the Champions League this season.

 

 

MANAGERS’ VIEWS

After having the media’s interpretation of ‘that’ Drogba reaction force fed, Benfica coach Jorge Jesus says, “Who knows what he was thinking? He might just have been joking, we don’t know.  But Portuguese clubs have eliminated both Manchester United and Manchester City, the top two teams in the Premier League, so that should act as an indication of the strengths of Portuguese football. Any response to Didier Drogba we’ll give out on the field tomorrow.”

Mind you, he’s none too jovial himself when it comes to his opinion on our squad this season, saying “A change of coach doesn’t change the quality of players at their club.  So it won’t make any difference at all I don’t see many differences between Villas-Boas’s Chelsea and Roberto Di Matteo’s.”

Roberto Di Matteo meanwhile, having heard Frank Lampard’s latest opinion on the current squad, says “Everybody seems to have an opinion, and they have that right, but I disagree.  I believe in my team, my squad, my players.  I don’t think we’re a weak team, not at all.   We have, still, many games to play in the Premier League to reach fourth, and two games in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.  It looked a little gloomier two weeks ago, so we’re pleased to be here.  If we had a few more points in the Premier League, we wouldn’t be talking like this.  It’s a very fine line between success and failure. This team has all the ability to play a very good game (tonight) and show the qualities these players have.”

 

 

SQUAD NEWS

For Benfica, defender Ezequiel Garay and striker Yannick Djalo will be missing due to injury.

For Chelsea, Ivanovic (thigh) is fighting to be fit after his injury against City and Raul Meireles returns from a one-match suspension.

 

 

TEAM

CHELSEA (from): Cech, Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry, Luiz, Cahill, Cole, Bertrand, Mikel, Romeu, Essien, Meireles, Ramires, Lampard, Mata, Malouda, Drogba, Torres, Sturridge, Kalou, Turnbull.

 

 

PREDICTION

Our defence will be up against one of the more prolific goal-scorers in Europe at the moment in Oscar Cardozo, whose tally stands at 22 for the season so far.  And whilst we may well have pulled off the sort of escape Houdini himself would have been proud of, overturning a 3-1 deficit to Napoli, we’ve looked bloody knackered in our last 2 games, particularly in the last ten minutes. Is there sufficient fuel in the tank to get us through 90 in Lisbon tonight? If there is, I can’t see where it’s meant to come from anymore to be honest.

 

4 Responses to “Benfica v CHELSEA: Champions League Preview”

  1. Im guessing that this will be a close game at there ground with chelsea obviously edging it 1 or 2 – 0. Benfica is ramires and david luiz’s old team so this is an important game to start for them as they are out there to impress.
    The chelsea team prodiction: 4-2-3-1
    goalkeeper: cech
    defence: david luiz, cahill, terry, cole
    midfielders: ramires, essien, meireles, lampard and mata
    forward: fernando torres

  2. let leave Lampard out of the game, cos he can not pass ball forward and so i do not want him to play at all

  3. I hope Chelsea can win the match with a 0-1 victory scoreline or atleast a 1-1 draw.

    Roberto Di Mateo must be in dreamland by having the chance to properly manage a huge ambitious football club like the Blues in the Uefa Champions League.

    I don’t know about you guys but what are your thoughts of playing Fernando Torres as an attacking mid just behind a forward till he can get his form back. Sought of a Hamsik role, maybe play just behind one forward. Cheers

  4. Chelsea played well on the night and should make it through now. A Chelsea v Barcelona semi-final is a mouth watering prospect!