Chelsea vs Benfica: Preview

In the wake of Roberto Di Matteo’s press conference ahead of the clash with Benfica we take a look at the Champions League quarter final clash at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea are no doubt in the driving seat after a 1-0 victory in the reverse fixture having got the crucial away goal in Lisbon whilst maintaining a clean sheet. That is not to say the team will take the game lightly in any way. Roberto Di Matteo was adamant in making this clear to the public. “A 1-0 lead is basically nothing & the players know this. We have to win the game & must approach it the same as Napoli game.”

The interim manager will look to the players’ past experience in the competition to see them through. “Our players have the experience to deal with the pressure and raise their game.” 

Benfica will go into the game with no shortage of confidence. Their failure to score at the Estadio da Luz may have been the first time they’ve been stopped at home for three years but they have scored in every away fixture in the Champions League this season and will look to ensure that record is not broken. The dangers still include the trio of Cardozo, Aimar and Gaitan.

For Chelsea, priority will be to not concede. A clean sheet will guarantee progression to the Semi-Final and a clash with Spanish champions and holders Barcelona who went through tonight after a 3-1 victory against A.C. Milan. However don’t expect Chelsea to sit back, this time has not only had a better defensive record under Di Matteo but they have also been more clinical in front of goal. An ever improving Fernando Torres will likely lead the line and look to add to his goal and assists tally.

Chelsea manager Di Matteo will likely have a fully fit squad to select from with only fitness issues hovering the trio of Drogba, Luiz and Meireles. The three players will go through training tonight and there, their place for tomorrow’s game will be decided.

After a season of disappointment up until now, a place in the Champions League semi final will no doubt ease some of the suffering and mean that in a season which has not met expectations, The Blues will find themselves three matches away from European glory and with a place in the FA Cup semi final cemented already, the season could well end with two pieces of silverware.

Predicted Chelsea line up: Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Cole; Essien, Lampard; Kalou, Ramires; Torres

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