Champions League Preview: Chelsea - Benfica
Di Matteo's side is looking to secure its place in this year's semifinals by claiming its fifth Champions League victory in a row when it faces the Eagles on Wednesday
By John Stammers
Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Cole
Lampard, Essien, Ramires
Mata, Torres, Sturridge
Maxi Pereira, Luisao, Javi Garcia, Emerson
Bruno Cesar, Aimar, Gaitan
Didier Drogba may be sidelined for the hosts after missing the win over Aston Villa on Saturday with a toe injury while Raul Meireles(knee), another who didn't feature at Villa Park, faces competition from Frank Lampard, Ramires and Michael Essien for a starting place in midfield if he regains fitness.
David Luiz sustained ankle ligament damage during in the game and probably won't feature, Gary Cahill is likely to step in for the Brazilian, after replacing him against the Villans.
Up front, Roberto Di Matteo's only real decision is whether to play Daniel Sturridge or Salomon Kalou, however he may choose to play another midfielder depending on his gameplan.
The visitors are in somewhat of an injury crisis with several of first team players ruled out for the trip to London.
Defenders Ezequiel Garay, Jardel and Miguel Vitor are all in line to miss this tie with injuries, leaving defensive midfielder Javi Garcia a probable make-shift center-half.
Meanwhile youngsters Luis Martins, Andre Almeida and Ruben Pinto will travel with the squad for the clash.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- Chelsea has won every home game in the Champions League this season.
- The Blues have scored 14 at Stamford Bridge, while conceding just once, the least of anyone in the tournament.
- No English side has ever failed to progress from Europe after winning the first-leg away from home.
- Excluding qualifiers, the hosts have scored in ten European matches in a row for the first time, consecutively winning their last four games.
- The Premier League team has netted first in every one of its nine Champions League games this season.
- Benfica has failed to claim a victory against English opposition in its last five attempts.
- Argentine playmaker, Nicolas Gaitan has the joint most assists in the competition along with Real Madrid's Karim Benzema. (5)
- The visitors have netted eight out of their 12 goals in the first-half, the highest proportion of any side in this season's tournament.
- The first leg, in which Di Matteo (pictured) masterminded the Blues to a 1-0 victory, was the first time that Benfica failed to find the back of the net in the Champions League this campaign.
- Chelsea have David Luiz, Ashley Cole and Raul Meireles one yellow away from missing the semifinals. The Eagles also have no less then five players walking the tightrope: Artur, Ezequiel Garay, Luisao, Bruno Cesar and Javi Garcia.
Top 3 Predictions
Chelsea 2-0 Benfica
- 22.7 %
Chelsea 3-0 Benfica
- 18.17 %
Chelsea 2-1 Benfica
- 13.65 %
|Europa League (EL)||May 15, 2013||Benfica 1 - Chelsea 2|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Apr 4, 2012||Chelsea 2 - Benfica 1|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Mar 27, 2012||Benfica 0 - Chelsea 1|
|Dec 7, 2013||Stoke 3 - Chelsea 2||EPL|
|Dec 4, 2013||Sunderland 3 - Chelsea 4||EPL|
|Dec 1, 2013||Chelsea 3 - Southampton 1||EPL|
|Nov 26, 2013||Basel 1 - Chelsea 0||UCL|
|Nov 23, 2013||West Ham 0 - Chelsea 3||EPL|
|12||John Obi Mikel||Midfielder|
|20||Osvaldo Nicolás Fabián Gaitán||Midfielder|
|19||Rodrigo Moreno Machado(Rodrigo)||Striker|
Times In EDT
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed