Benfica - Chelsea Preview: Ramires and David Luiz return to former club as Blues search for first away win
The Eagles are unbeaten at the Estadio da Luz in this season's Champions League, with Roberto Di Matteo's side struggling to find victories on the road in the 2011-12 competition
By Oliver Platt
Pereira, Luisao, Jardel, Emerson
Gaitan, Witsel, Bruno Cesar
Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, Cole
Sturridge, Mata, Ramires
Pablo Aimar came off of the bench only to receive a red card against Olhanense at the weekend so Jorge Jesus may choose to stick with Nicolas Gaitan, Axel Witsel and Bruno Cesar in midfield.
Nelson Oliveira will compete with Rodrigo for a place in the Benfica attack, with the latter boasting a stronger goal scoring record this season.
Defender Ezequiel Garay and striker Yannick Djalo will be missing due to injury.
Roberto Di Matteo is hoping Branislav Ivanovic can recover from a thigh injury in time to feature but if not Jose Bosingwa will start at right-back. In the centre of defence David Luiz could return at the expense of Gary Cahill against his old club.
Otherwise Di Matteo is unlikely to sway too much from the side that beat Napoli in the previous round. Didier Drogba will probably be preferred to Fernando Torres in attack while Raul Meireles is also in contention for a place in midfield.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- Benfica had not suffered defeat in the league until they lost to Guimaraes in February. That match was the first of a run of three games without victory, including a 3-2 loss to Porto, who now top the table.
- Striker Rodrigo has bagged eight goals in the league for Benfica this season but scored just once in 17 matches while on loan with Bolton Wanderers from Real Madrid during the 2010-11 campaign.
- The Eagles overturned a 3-2 first leg deficit to progress past Russian side Zenit St. Petersburg in the previous round.
- Chelsea will meet Benfica on Tuesday for the first time. Portuguese sides have not been kind to their English counterparts this season; Sporting Lisbon knocked Manchester City out of the Europa League while Benfica played a part in Manchester United's Champions League elimination.
- The Blues do have two former Eagles players in their ranks to help them out on the night. David Luiz and Ramires were teammates in Lisbon before joining Chelsea.
- Chelsea have not won away from home in the Champions League this season. They lost games against Napoli and Bayer Leverkusen and drew with Genk and Valencia.
- They will feel confident if they are able to keep the score close in Portugal, however, having won all four of their home fixtures in the competition this season.
Top 3 Predictions
Benfica 0-2 Chelsea FC
- 18.32 %
Benfica 1-2 Chelsea FC
- 17.87 %
Benfica 1-3 Chelsea FC
- 11.39 %
|Europa League (EL)||16-May-2013||Benfica 1 - Chelsea FC 2|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||05-Apr-2012||Chelsea FC 2 - Benfica 1|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||28-Mar-2012||Benfica 0 - Chelsea FC 1|
|02-Mar-2014||Belenenses 0 - Benfica 1||POR1|
|28-Feb-2014||Benfica 3 - PAOK 0||EL|
|25-Feb-2014||Benfica 1 - Vitoria Guimarães 0||POR1|
|20-Feb-2014||PAOK 0 - Benfica 1||EL|
|16-Feb-2014||Paços Ferreira 0 - Benfica 2||POR1|
|33||Jardel Nivaldo Vieira||Defender|
|20||Osvaldo Nicolás Fabián Gaitán||Midfielder|
|12||John Obi Mikel||Midfielder|
Times In IST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed