Chelsea - Basel Preview: Blues bid for first-ever Europa League final berth
The Swiss outfit are aiming to become the first visiting team to win a European tie at Stamford Bridge since April 2011 but conceded two away goals in the first leg
By Ryan Benson
Chelsea will be without Ashley Cole due to suspension after the left-back picked up a yellow card in the first leg, meaning that Ryan Bertrand will once again deputise.
Further up the pitch, Rafael Benitez has no new selection concerns as long-term absentees Oriol Romeu (knee) and Marko Marin (thigh) and the ineligable Demba Ba will all sit out.
Basel boss Murat Yakin is also expected to name a similar line-up to the one which played at St Jakob-Park, with few players missing from their squad.
Kay Voser is the only player currently ruled out due to injury, while the front six could be exactly the same as in the first leg.
The only anticipated change will be at the centre of the defence, where Gaston Sauro could replace the suspended Aleksandar Dragovic.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Chelsea have scored at least two goals in each of their last four Europa League matches.
- Fernando Torres (pictured right) has been fruitful in the competition, scoring four goals in seven appearances.
- The last team to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in Europe was Manchester United in April 2011.
- Basel have conceded two goals or more in their last three matches in Europe.
- Marco Streller is Basel's joint-top goalscorer in the Europa League with defender Fabian Schar. Both have four goals.
- Yakin's side have played six away matches in the Europa League so far this season, winning none of them.
- Basel have scored seven of their 17 goals in the final 15 minutes of matches - 41.2 per cent.
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Top 3 Predictions
Chelsea FC 2-0 Basel
- 23.52 %
Chelsea FC 3-0 Basel
- 16.27 %
Chelsea FC 3-1 Basel
- 15.66 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Nov 26, 2013||Basel 1 - Chelsea FC 0|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Sep 18, 2013||Chelsea FC 1 - Basel 2|
|UEFA Europa League (EL)||May 2, 2013||Chelsea FC 3 - Basel 1|
|UEFA Europa League (EL)||Apr 25, 2013||Basel 1 - Chelsea FC 2|
|Dec 4, 2013||Sunderland 3 - Chelsea FC 4||EPL|
|Dec 1, 2013||Chelsea FC 3 - Southampton 1||EPL|
|Nov 26, 2013||Basel 1 - Chelsea FC 0||UCL|
|Nov 23, 2013||West Ham 0 - Chelsea FC 3||EPL|
|Nov 9, 2013||Chelsea FC 2 - West Bromwich Albion 2||EPL|
|-||G. Serey Die||Midfielder|
|-||Mohamed El Nenny||Midfielder|
Torres seems to have rather enjoyed playing in the Europa League this season and, with Demba Ba cup-tied, he has been the undisputed main man in attack. His troubles are well documented but he is still capable of finding the net so, with Chelsea already having one foot in the final, the striker should cope well without the usual pressure on his shoulders.
Valentin Stocker and Marco Streller will be the key men for Basel going forward but the performance of goalkeeper Sommer will be essential at the back. In the first leg, the Switzerland international saved his team's blushes on numerous occasions and, if Basel are to capitalise on their already miniscule chance of progressing, he must produce a similar display at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea's home record in Europe speaks for itself, while Basel are yet to win away from St Jakob-Park, so a comfortable home win looks to be the most likely outcome.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed