Thursday, April 25, 2013

FC Basel v Chelsea - Match Preview

FC Basel v Chelsea

Europa League - Semi Final 1st Leg
Date: Thursday 25th April, Kick-Off: 20:00 GMT
Venue: St. Jakob-Park, Basel

FC Basel vs Chelsea

Its back to Europa League this Thursday when Chelsea take on FC Basel in the 1st leg of Europa League Semi Final at St. Jakob-Park in Switzerland.

Chelsea come into this game after a disappointing draw against Liverpool, a game which was marred by one of the biggest sporting controversies of all time. Luiz Suarez had bitten Ivanovic's arm which referee failed to notice, this disgraceful deed by Suarez which went unnoticed saw Chelsea give away a win when Suarez scored in the 7th minute of extra time. It was the biggest talking point of the match where Chelsea fans and Benitez were left fuming at the referee for not taking any action against Suarez even after Ivanovic had shown the bite mark just after the incident. And to make matters worse six minutes of added time was extended to the 7th minute for no particular reason and it was in the 7th minute that Liverpool equalized through Suarez.

Luis Suarez - A Disgrace

Luis Suarez bites Branislav Ivanovic (Videos, GIFs & pictures)
Luis Suarez bites Branislav Ivanovic (Videos, GIFs & pictures)
Luis Suarez bites Branislav Ivanovic (Videos, GIFs & pictures)















































Chelsea now are placed 4th in the table, 1 point behind Arsenal and one point above 5th place Tottenham. And with some tricky fixtures in line, a finish to top 4 and the vital Champions League spot is getting tougher. 

But for now the focus shifts to the Europa League and we should let go of the injustice that happened at Anfield and concentrate on the task ahead against Basel. Not to forget that this is our only chance of Silverware this season and its one of the trophies which Chelsea have never won before.

FC Basel v Chelsea - Match Preview


Europa League

Europa League has reached its penultimate stages where the semi-final line ups sees Chelsea take on FC Basel whereas Fenerbache taking on Benfica in the other semi-final clash. Chelsea crawled through to the semi-finals of the Europa League after winning 5-4 on aggregate against Rubin Kazan in the quarter finals.

Chelsea win over Rubin Kazan

Basel on the other hand got rid of our English counterpart Tottenham Hotspur in the other quarter final which ended in a penalty shootout which saw Basel win 4-1 on spot kicks after two 2-2 draws.

Basel win over Tottenham

Chelsea do have the upper hand as they will be playing 2nd leg at home but a decent second leg can only make them the favorites to reach the finals in Amsterdam Arena. Both teams have never met each other before.

FC Basel are defending Swiss League champions and are well managed by their 38 year old coach Murat Yakin. Basel carry with them a good home record in this seasons Europa League, having played six matches since the start of the group stage, they are unbeaten in those six games with four wins and two draws.

Chelsea on the other hand have lost their last two away fixtures in the UEFA Europa League, and four of their past five European away games. FC St Gallen is the only Swiss side which Chelsea have faced before and this was in the first round of 2000/01 UEFA Cup when Chelsea lost the game 2-1 on aggregate. So the records are not in Chelsea's favor but another record that is against Basel is that never has been a Swiss side part of the finals of any European competition.


European Records

FC Basel

European semi-final record: None

Last semi-final appearance: None

This season: W4 D6 L2 F16 A10

Top scorer: Marco Streller 4


Chelsea

European semi-final record: Won 4 Lost 6

Last semi-final appearance: 2011/12 (Champions League, won 3-2 v Barcelona)

This season: W3 D1 L2 F10 A7

Top scorer: Fernando Torres 4

Team News

 Its good news for Chelsea and their fans as both Ashely Cole (hamstring) and Cahill (knee) have recovered from their injuries and have traveled to Switzerland to face FC Basel. Cole has recovered from a hamstring strain suffered in the home game against Manchester United on 1 April. Cahill underwent a minor knee operation on 30 March.

Demba Ba is cup tied once again so it will be Fernando Torres who will lead the attacking force. Oscar continues to recover from a mild groin strain suffered against Liverpool. With one eye on the game against Swansea this weekend Benitez would definitely make changes to the side that will face Basel on Thursday.


Watch this space for latest team line-ups


Player and Manager Talk

Fernando Torres on the UEFA Europa League

Fernando Torres on the UEFA Europa League

"We have a young squad and we need to learn winning ways, and this is a very good way. It is not the Champions League but it is the Europa League. Now we're in the semi-finals, everyone can see we want to win, and the team, I think, is happy."
"The competition is helping the team a lot, because it is giving us a lot of satisfaction – not like in the Premier League this season, and we lost the semi-final of the FA Cup, so we were also close. But the Europa League is keeping us in a good mood and thinking it could be a good season."

Petr Cech on the UEFA Europa League

Petr Cech on the UEFA Europa League
"We are in a position where we fight for everything, we have a lot of pressure playing in the Europa League because we obviously want to win it."
"Every league game we are in the fight for the top four places and it's very tight there."


Frank Lampard on the UEFA Europa League


Frank Lampard on the UEFA Europa League
"The club needs to win silverware; it's a club that's been involved around silverware for many a year. When you get used to that, it makes you hungrier to keep wanting to do it."
"We've not maligned by the Europa League; I don't think the players, the club and the management have, the minute you drop out of the Champions League and come into it, of course there's disappointment, but the minute you start playing the games, you've got a determination to try to get as far as you can. We've had that all along."

Basel Coach Murat Yakin on the semi-final draw against Chelsea

Basel Coach Murat Yakin
"Fenerbah├že would obviously have been a special draw for me, but now we simply have to find a way to prevail against Chelsea. Chelsea are the best team left in the competition, but there is no reason to feel upset or afraid of this draw. I've never been to the Stamford Bridge and I'm looking forward to playing there."


Rafa Benitez on the semi-final draw against Basel and the opponents themselves


"Every one of the teams left could be difficult, but Basel is not too far away so maybe it is a good option. We know Basel have a great atmosphere in their stadium St. Jakob-Park, so it will be interesting.  They are an offensive team who play with intensity, a good team who did well against Tottenham."
"We have had good teams in the Europa League, Basel is in the semi-final and deserve to be there. They've worked very hard, have played well, and are well organised. They press well and play good counter-attack. They have good players with pace and ability so we will have to do really well if we want to win."
"Philipp Degen was my player [at Liverpool] and is a good professional, a worker and enjoys playing football. They have some good young players and others with more experience."
"Both are here and will train today. They are fine, Obviously fatigue when you play so many games and travel around Europe is a key factor to consider. I praise my staff because we try to manage the squad in the best way possible. Still the team is [playing] good games and we have fresh legs in some players. We have to rotate, change and manage players."

Benitez on Fernando Torres

"The main thing we have seen is he has more confidence, especially at the beginning when he was scoring goals,When he hasn't scored too much he has lost some confidence, but he is doing his specific programme for his strength. He is sharper now and has scored some goals so is more confident. We will see if he can carry on tomorrow."

[source: uefa.com & chelseafc.com]


Predictions


As mentioned above in our preview, Basel haven't lost a home game in Europa League this time around and Chelsea on the other hand have lost their last two away games. And with one eye on the weekends clash with Swansea in mind I will go for a scored draw.

Scoreline: FC Basel 1 Chelsea 1


Be the Manager


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Also share your thoughts, opinions and views ahead of the game against FC Basel.

My starting line up

My team Lineup


So get ready for some pulsating action at St Jacob's Park. Come on CHELSEA!!! KTBFFH.

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