Benfica - Chelsea Preview: Blues boast 100% record against Jorge Jesus' side
The English side look set to be without John Terry and Eden Hazard for the Europa League final at the Amsterdam ArenA against a side who have lost just twice since September
By Husmukh Kerai
Benfica go into the game on the back of a disastrous last-minute defeat to arch rivals Porto which could cost them their domestic title - their second loss since September.
On the injury front, though, manager Jorge Jesus doesn't have any problems to contend with.
Rafa Benitez is set to be without John Terry (ankle) and Eden Hazard (hamstring) for the Europa League final after both picked up injuries in Saturday's 2-1 win over Aston Villa.
Fernando Torres will continue in attack for the Blues as Demba Ba is cup-tied having already turned out in the competition for Newcastle earlier in the season.
Apart from that, Chelsea have a fully fit squad to take to Amsterdam.
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Wednesday will see Benfica take part in their ninth major European final.
- The Portuguese giants are on a run of six straight European final defeats since lifting the European Cup in 1962.
Benfica striker Oscar Cardozo (pictured) has scored in six of his team's last ten matches against English teams. He is 11/2 with Paddy Power to open the scoring on Wednesday.
- The Portuguese outfit go into the final having played exactly twice as many European games as their rivals, 362 to the Blues' 181.
- The sides met for the first time last season when Roberto Di Matteo's Chelsea won 1-0 in Lisbon and 2-1 at home to eliminate Jorge Jesus' men in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
- The Blues are aiming to become the first team to win Uefa's top-two club competitions in reverse order in successive campaigns.
- Chelsea could also become only the fourth team to lift all three of Uefa's major club trophies, after Juventus, Ajax and Bayern Munich.
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Top 3 Predictions
Benfica 1-3 Chelsea FC
- 22.11 %
Benfica 1-2 Chelsea FC
- 19.26 %
Benfica 0-2 Chelsea FC
- 11.72 %
|UEFA Europa League (EL)||May 15, 2013||Benfica 1 - Chelsea FC 2|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Apr 4, 2012||Chelsea FC 2 - Benfica 1|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Mar 27, 2012||Benfica 0 - Chelsea FC 1|
|Mar 2, 2014||Belenenses 0 - Benfica 1||POR1|
|Feb 27, 2014||Benfica 3 - PAOK 0||EL|
|Feb 24, 2014||Benfica 1 - Vitoria Guimarães 0||POR1|
|Feb 20, 2014||PAOK 0 - Benfica 1||EL|
|Feb 16, 2014||Paços Ferreira 0 - Benfica 2||POR1|
|20||Osvaldo Nicolás Fabián Gaitán||Midfielder|
|35||Enzo Nicolás Pérez||Midfielder|
|33||Jardel Nivaldo Vieira||Defender|
|12||John Obi Mikel||Midfielder|
The Paraguay international has six goals in eight games in this season's Europa League and will once again be vital to Benfica's chances of lifting the cup. The 29-year-old also has an impressive record against English clubs having netted six times in his last 10 appearances against Premier League sides
The 26-year-old comes up against his former club on Wednesday and his power, skill and passing ability alongside Ramires in the middle of the park should allow the Blues to dictate the game at the Amsterdam ArenA.
Chelsea have an embarrassment of creative talent and, if afforded time and space, the likes of Juan Mata and Oscar can pick apart even the tightest of defences. A lot could depend on which Fernando Torres turns up and if the Spaniard has his shooting boots on, it's hard to look past the Blues.