FC Basel v CHELSEA: Preview

Venue: St-Jakob Park

Date: Thursday 25 April

Kick-off: 20:05 BST

In stark contrast to the dizzy heights of the semi final we were in last season, this time it’s not Barcelona in the Champions League, but Basel in the Europa League – what is the same though, is that again, we’re the last Premier League side standing in Europe, so something’s consistent about us at least!

The winner of this two-legged tie will face either Fenerbahce or Benfica in Amsterdam on 15th May but whether or not we’ll still be on course for our remaining chance of some silverware this season or not, remains to be seen.

 

 

MANAGER’S VIEW

Having beaten Spurs on penalties to get through the quarter-final stage, Basel manager Murat Yakin says “I’m not a dreamer, I’m not dreaming. I’m very realistic. We’re talking about reaching the final here.  When I started we were in the very last spot in our group.  From there I presented my vision that I had to the team and the vision that I had to maybe reach the final even in Amsterdam.  The team grew in this competition, showed great performances, at home especially. It sets up a good advantage for the second leg then.  We need one great game and maybe one okay game to maybe even make it to the final.

I don’t want to make any comparisons.  The match against Tottenham is over, now we’ll have to face Chelsea.  I think we gained respect with qualifying and getting so far into the semi-finals.  We will need a little bit of luck if we want to achieve a good result tomorrow.  We’ve proved in this competition, in the round of 32, last 16, that we can show some great performances.

We have very positive results that we’ve achieved against English teams so far and we want to continue this run.  We want to stay unbeaten at home. We’ve shown through the whole campaign that we are very strong at home.  We will try and we will see how the start goes.  We have still nothing to lose. I just want to see my team play encouraging football.  We will try to dominate here at home. We showed the same against Dnipro and Zenit also. Tottenham was the highlight. Over this time it’s improved and we’re fully confident.”

 

 

SQUAD NEWS

For Basel, forward Alex Frei appears to have retired since beating Spurs, Raul Bobadilla is cup-tied and Phillip Degen is a doubt. Aside from them though, Murat Yakin managed to rest several starters at the weekend.

For Chelsea, Oriol Romeu (knee) is a definite absentee and Demba Ba is cup-tied.  Cole and Cahill are in the squad, along with Oscar, in spite of a groin problem, and Ivanovic hopes to get through the game with his forearms intact as well.

 

 

TEAMS

BASEL (Possible line-up): Sommer – P. Degen, Schar, Dragovic, Joo-Ho – El Nenny, F. Frei, Serey Die – Salah, Streller, Stocker.

CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Cech – Azpilicueta, Terry, Luiz, Bertrand – Ramires, Lampard – Moses, Oscar, Benayoun – Torres.

 

 

PREDICTION

I really don’t know about this game (although don’t feel particularly confident about it), they definitely gave Spurs a game and have more than held their own up to this point whilst we’ve probably been a bit less convincing. I’m expecting defeat tonight and then it’ll be all about how much we want to turn it around in the second leg.

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