A couple months ago if anyone had said to you that Chelsea would be on the brink of qualifying for the semi-finals of the Champions League, you would of asked that person which mental institute they had just escaped from. But here we are with Chelsea taking a 1-0 lead back to Stamford Bridge against a Benfica side that held Champions elect of the Premier League Manchester United to draws both home and away helping to knock United out of the Champions League at the group stage.
Chelsea have a 100% record at home in this year’s competition and will look to continue that against a Benfica side that haven’t at all been shabby on their travels either, winning two and drawing three of their six games, with the only loss coming in Russia to Zenith St.Petersburg.though a draw won’t be enough for them. Knowing that they have to score to have any chance of going through can make Benfica very dangerous but on the flip side maybe that can play into Chelsea’s hands. With the pace of Ramires, Sturridge and Torres, Chelsea possess the players who can be effective on counter-attacks. The first goal will be very important, if Chelsea get it the tie may be effectively over but if Benfica get it then it’s game on.
Roberto Di Matteo thinks that his side has to put on a great performance to overcome Benfica, he also said that he has a fully fit squad with only a few players with minor knocks. He thinks his side has to approach the game like the Napoli game and play to win, he also went on to say that they have the experience to deal with the pressure and raise their game.
If the previous game taught us anything, is that there will be chances for both teams and it will come down to who can hold their nerve in front of goal. But Chelsea being home and that unbeaten record should help them relax a bit. Benfica will not go down without a fight and i expect them to come out and try to play a high tempo game, Chelsea’s midfield will need to get into the game early and control the tempo. If they can do that, i expect them to pull through the tie, 3-1 to Chelsea.
Written by TCB reader Damian Peters
Follow Damian on Twitter @futbal_disciple